Author: Minna Zhu Date Posted: 5 March 2018
In the past 10 years, we have seen many of our clients in start-up and technology space who come up with inspirational ideas and brilliant concepts. Unfortunately, going from ideas to the finished products takes a lot more than hard work. Just like everyone who has made to success, you need to invest in a lot of research and development.
And R&D doesn’t come cheap.
Fortunately, the Federal Government provide great incentives for companies which invest in R&D activities to boost competitiveness and improve productivity across the Australian economy.
The 30 April cutoff date for lodgement of 2017 R&D Incentive application is fast approaching. Therefore, if you run a company that is investing in R&D, and would love to get Federal Government to partially fund your project, you need to act now!
The R&D Incentive program is jointly administered by AusIndustry and the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
Businesses conducting R&D may be eligible for:
Importantly, core R&D activities must be conducted for the purpose of generating new knowledge (including the creation of improved materials, products, devices, processes or services).
Each year you must apply to register for the R&D Tax Incentive and the application must be lodged within 10 months of your company’s income year.
It is worth noting company is the only type of business structure which is eligible for R&D Tax Incentive. If you are running your R&D activities under a sole trader, trust or partnership, a restructure might be required.
It’s also critical that your company keeps adequate records to show it carried out eligible activities in incurring the claimed expenditure. Documenting your R&D should be a year-round activity. However, towards the end of the year, you should review your records and update if needed.
R&D claim for software industries
R&D in the software industry is perhaps the trickiest to assess for eligibility as developing any software can, on the surface, appear to be R&D since software is developed iteratively, usually involves developing something new, and involves problem solving. However, this doesn’t necessarily make it eligible for the R&D Tax Incentive.
In assessing whether your company is undertaking R&D in its software development, ask yourself the following questions:
Another common issue with software R&D is scope. Rarely does an entire software development project involve R&D. More Commonly, R&D is a component of a project. Take this example – a company is developing an app that allows a user to scan barcodes from common food items in a supermarket, and then provide nutritional information and information about where the ingredients were sourced from. The R&D component of this could be in developing algorithms to recognize barcodes and cross reference to a library. However, the user interface, backed database etc. is not likely to be R&D. In this example, a company should register only the core algorithm development as R&D (with any directly supporting activity), but not the other development activities needed to build the final commercial app.
Shakeel Yusuf from our R&D specialist team has extensive experience in software and IT industries. Shakeel has worked in R&D for over 13 years now and has worked both in AusIndustry as an accessor and then as an advisor in 'big 4' accounting firm.
Recently, Shakeel has helped a client who is developing a graphic design tool to successfully go through the AusIndustry review process. Moreover, we have also secured an R&D Overseas Finding approval for their R&D activities under which their overseas R&D developer costs would be claimable for the tax incentive.
If you’re eligible for the R&D Tax Incentive but not applying for it, you’re leaving cash on the table.
We have a strong R&D specialist team who can help you make sure you tick all the relevant boxes and get the most out of your R&D Tax claims.
Call us on 1300 222 353 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to talk to us about R&D Tax Incentive.