September 2017 edition

Welcome to 2017-18

The beginning of a new year is a good time for reflecting on the year that was and looking forward to the aims of the new year.

This year, the department will be working to improve your experience with the R&D Tax Incentive with several exciting projects, including:

R&D Tax Incentive Guidance Project

We first let you know about our new user-focused approach to simplify the language and advice provided to ICT users of the R&D Tax Incentive in the February 2017 Bulletin. This new approach was the subject of a recent Media Release by the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO. Since then we have consulted with a number of businesses to get a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding the use of the program, including how our activity guidance is understood and used by our customers.

We are now moving into the next phase of the project which will look to update some of our guidance content, visuals and videos as a result of the feedback we have received so far.

This will mean developing and user-testing better guidance for companies undertaking software development activities and start-up companies. We are looking to see how we can better communicate the legislative requirements and building on learnings from AAT cases.

Case Studies

Research and Development is good for everyone. Whether you are conducting R&D yourself, working for a company that is conducting R&D or simply living in the local community.

In the June 2017 Bulletin, we said we were working with real R&D Tax Incentive customers to develop new case studies. These case studies will speak about the benefits for both companies and communities and will make great reading to give a more complete picture of how R&D is good for everyone. You will start seeing new customer stories before the end of the year. We will let you know through the Bulletin as they become available.

We are already talking to companies about how the R&D Tax Incentive has assisted them and their communities and writing their stories.

Refreshing our Information Sessions & Communications

We have been engaging with businesses and R&D Tax Incentive customers through interviews and surveys to get feedback on our messaging, products, and communication channels. We are taking feedback we are receiving on board and are now working to improve the R&D Tax Incentive Information Sessions we deliver across the nation. For example, we will be refreshing the content that we present. We are also reviewing the way we communicate with businesses about the program more broadly to make sure we are providing the information you need in a way that connects with you.

If you would like to suggest your company as a candidate for a case study or would like to contribute to any of these projects you can email us at r&

Customer Story - Smoke Control Systems

Smoke Control Systems Pty Ltd is working to reduce the number of accidents occurring through specialising in the design, supply, installation and maintenance of life safety solutions.

Smoke Control Systems Technical Coordinator, Alex Chubb explained “Our systems are primarily used in the building and construction industry but also have applications in mining and shipping segments.”

View the full customer story: Smoke Control Systems - Where there is smoke, there is SCS

Advice of the Month

Write your activity descriptions as you are planning or doing them while it is fresh in your mind. You can then copy/paste them into the registration form. But be mindful of the character limit!

Your activities need to be clearly described so that an independent reader can understand what was done and why it was done.

What we are seeing…

With around 90 days to go before we close off applications for the 2015-16 financial year, the number of companies that have registered for that financial year is up from the same time in the previous year. More then 15,000 companies are now participating in the program.

Companies with annual turnovers below $20 million (SMEs) are driving the growth while the number of large companies went down.

The amount of expenditure registered so far for 2015-16 is lower than in the previous year. The decline in R&D investment is mostly due to large businesses claiming around one fifth less than in 2014-15, while SMEs increased their R&D expenditure. This reduction is likely in response to a decline in mining investment as the sector has moved from the investment phase into commercial production, as well as the introduction of the $100 million expenditure threshold which – for the first time – affected all companies registered for the 2015-16 financial year. Affected companies are able to claim R&D expenditure above $100 million as a standard business deduction, however, this additional expenditure won’t be reflected in these figures.

Information and communications technologies and manufacturing are the big R&D growth areas for smaller companies. The reduction in R&D expenditure by large companies was most clear in the mining, construction, manufacturing and financial and insurance services sectors.

In 2016-17, the department received 169 applications for overseas findings and 33 applications for advance findings. The department would like to thank these companies for getting their applications to us before the 30 June deadline.

While we are on this topic, remember that applications for advance or overseas findings must be lodged within the income year in which the activity is conducted.

Invitation to suggest future articles

Do you have a burning question about the R&D Tax Incentive program? Are there any topics within the program you would like to see us write about? Drop us a line at r& and let us know. Your suggestion might make it into the next bulletin!

We can’t provide you with specific advice about the eligibility of your activities in one of these articles. If you want specific answers about activities then you should consider asking us for an Advance Finding. We can answer general questions about the program’s legislation and trends about how the program is being used.

Thanks for your feedback. If you have any ideas on how we can improve, we'd love to hear them.

Please provide your comments in the feedback form.