Record keeping

When applying to register for the R&D Tax Incentive, you must keep records that demonstrate your activities meet the eligibility criteria for the program as defined in the legislation.

Why you must keep records

If your registration is selected for an examination, you may be asked to provide the records you kept during the time you conducted your R&D which you used to self-assess your eligibility (known as contemporaneous records). Maintaining good records while you conduct your activities can save you time and reduce the risk of not being able to prove your eligibility.

If your registration is selected for examination, you will have 30 days to provide your records to us. If the evidence cannot be provided within the 30 days, you or your nominated contact can request an extension in accordance with the Decision-making Principles. This allows for a further period of up to 14 days, if you, or your nominated contact, explain why the evidence cannot be given in time and confirm that the evidence can be given within 14 days after that time.

Type of records to keep

Records you need to keep will vary depending on the nature of your business and the R&D activities you are conducting. If a company has no contemporaneous records that an activity has been conducted and met all of the eligibility criteria, then that activity is not eligible for the R&D Tax Incentive.

Examples of evidence you may use to demonstrate your eligibility under the program include:

  • design of experiments
  • project planning documents
  • project records and laboratory notebooks
  • records of trial runs
  • progress reports and minutes of project meetings
  • test protocols, test results, analysis of test results and conclusions
  • photographs and videos
  • samples, prototypes, scrap and other artefacts
  • contracts
  • records of resources allocated to the project (e.g. asset usage logs)
  • staff time sheets, or
  • tax invoices.

More information

Compliance Readiness: the importance of record keeping

A guide on record keeping and preparing effective applications for registration of your R&D activities. Record keeping is an essential requirement under the R&D Tax Incentive. You must keep appropriate records to demonstrate the eligibility of your activities.

Further detail on extensions of time can be found in the Decision-making Principles.

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