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R&D Tax Incentive: What startups need to know for EOFY

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RSM Perth
// // RSM provides some essential advice around the R&D Tax incentive scheme...

As another end of financial year (EOFY) approaches, RSM’s national R&D Tax Incentive (RDTI) team provides a summary of considerations in respect to your R&D Tax Incentive claim for 2022 and what you need to know when the 2023 financial year gets underway.

Important Points to consider

  • If your company is undertaking R&D activities overseas that may qualify for an Overseas Finding Application, your company has until 30 June 2022 to lodge the application with AusIndustry. This deadline also applies to Advanced Finding Applications, should your company seek certainty on the eligibility of R&D activities being undertaken.
  • Is your company incurring R&D expenditure to associates? If you haven’t already, now is the time to examine any associate relationships and ensure payment of any outstanding amounts incurred to associates prior to 30 June 2022.
  • Claimants of the RDTI are required to maintain contemporaneous documentation and records to evidence the R&D activities being undertaken and the R&D expenditure incurred on these activities. Your company should review these, including timesheets, to ensure there is a record of all R&D activities and expenditure incurred on these.

R&D Tax Offset Rate

Effective for income years that commenced after 1 July 2021, the R&D Tax offset rate is now based on the company’s corporate tax rate plus the addition of an R&D premium. When your RDTI claims are prepared for any financial year ending on or after 30 June 2022, the new R&D Tax offset rules apply.

For companies that have an aggregated turnover below $20m, the entitlement continues to be a refundable R&D Tax offset, where the offset rate is calculated as the corporate tax rate plus an 18.5% premium. Noting that the corporate tax rate for these companies (assuming they are base rate entities) is 25%, an R&D Tax offset rate of 43.5% is the same as that under the previous legislation.

For companies with an aggregated turnover of $20m or more accessing the non-refundable R&D Tax offset, the rate is now based on the corporate tax rate plus an R&D premium dependent on the R&D intensity, that being the proportion of the entity’s R&D expenditure to total expenses in the income year. A two-tiered system now operates for the R&D premium:

  • 8.5% Premium for R&D expenditure up to and including 2% intensity; and
  • 16.5% Premium for R&D expenditure greater than 2% intensity.

Refreshed AusIndustry Software Development Guidance

AusIndustry has recently released its updated guidance for ‘Software-related activities and the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive – A guide to help you assess whether your software-related R&D is eligible for the R&D Tax Incentive’.

Discernable updates to the refreshed guidance include:

  • Acknowledging that methodologies such as Agile, Waterfall and Rapid; as well as system testing, data testing and digital transformation activities can be used in the systematic progression of work to undertake core R&D activities.
  • A case study has been provided to assist claimants in explaining eligibility requirements for software development activities, noting that this does fall short of the available content limits within the R&D application. Where possible, claimants should optimise the available content real estate in the R&D application.
  • Examples of evidence and documentation that can be used to support R&D eligibility.
  • Additional detail on ‘unknown outcomes’ and assessment of this by a competent professional, the latter not explicit in the RDTI legislation.
  • Guidance in respect to the internal business exclusion, as well as the dominant purpose test.

The refreshed guidance was updated in consultation with industry and various stakeholders. While it is a step forward in providing clarity to companies undertaking software development R&D activities, claimants should continue to maintain robust contemporaneous documentation to substantiate their R&D and ensure diligent processes to identify qualifying R&D from business as usual development.

If you would like more information or are unsure of your business eligibility to claim the R&D Tax Incentive or other incentives, the team at RSM are here to help.


R&D Tax Incentive: What startups need to know for EOFY

This article was written by Melissa Di Latte
Melissa is a Senior Manager in RSM’s R&D and Government Incentives national team, providing specialist R&D tax and incentives services. With a career spanning over 10 years, Melissa has provided R&D and incentives advice to a range of industries across startups to multinational clients.

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RSM Perth

Having grown into one of Australia’s leading professional services firms over the last 100 years, RSM Australia is committed to enabling clients through a greater understanding of what matters most to their business. Providing ready access to expert corporate financial and advisory accounting services, RSM Australia’s one-firm structure underscores a client-focused culture. This culture nurtures strong collaborative client partnerships across growth-focused entrepreneurial businesses backed by industry expertise and longstanding relationships with the SME and startup community.
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