Amendments of The Special Tax Scheme for Researchers and Other Highly Paid Employees (”forskerskatteordningen”)
Since 1992, Denmark has offered the Special Tax Scheme for Researcher and Other Highly Paid Employees, who are recruited from abroad. Until January 1, 2019, these rules have been complicated and costly, and Business Organizations have been asking for more simple and flexible terms, when applying the scheme. This has been taken into action by The Danish Parliament, which has approved an amendment to the Act. The amendment entered into force on January 1, 2019.
The research taxation scheme makes it possible for highly paid employees (e.g. athletes) and researchers, recruited from abroad, and who meet certain conditions, to work in Denmark subject to a particularly low tax rate of 27% instead of the ordinary income taxation. The scheme can be used by the employee for up to 7 years. The period does not have to be coherent and the employee can therefore use the scheme for several periods up to 7 years in total. This means that the employee can apply the scheme for e.g. a period of 4 years and then a period of 4 years.
The amendment of the Act supports, inter alia, the government’s ambition to strengthen Danish companies’ access to highly qualified foreign labor. One of the changes entails that a key employee, who has been employed within the same legal entity prior to the employment with the Danish employer, now also has the opportunity to apply the scheme. This eliminates the concurrence requirement that has previously been a problem for employees who change workplaces between entities in the same company. It had previously (until January 1, 2019) been a requirement that the tax liability in Denmark commenced simultaneously with the employee’s employment in the entity. Nevertheless, the employee must still not have been taxable in Denmark in the last 10 years prior to the employment in the Danish entity.
About the researcher taxation scheme
Researchers and key employees recruited from abroad by a Danish company or a Danish research institution have been able to apply for reduced tax payments since 1992. The rules have since then been amended several times. The scheme applies to all industries, and to both Danish and foreign individuals (if they are recruited from abroad). The purpose of the amendment is to improve the competitive position of Danish companies and increase the flexibility of the scheme.
The researcher taxation scheme can not only be used by researchers but can also be used by highly skilled employees. The most important conditions that the employee must fulfill in order to use the researcher taxation scheme are following:
- the employee has to be recruited from abroad, and
- the employee has to be an approved researcher doing research in Denmark and who is highly educated (at least Ph.D.), or the employee has to be a key employee whose monthly salary in 2018 has to be at least 65.100 DKK + ATP, and
- the employee may not have been liable to taxation in Denmark in the past 10 years, and
- the employee must not have been directly or indirectly involved – within the past five years prior to the employment – in the management of or have had control or significant influence over the enterprise where he/she is being employed
If you consider recruiting staff from abroad or if you are going to work for a Danish company or a Danish research institution you should keep the researcher taxation scheme in mind. For further information, please contact our partner and co-founder of LEAD | Rödl & Partner, attorney Alexandra Huber.
Last updated 02.01.2019
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