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Posted By: R&D SmartTax

Record-keeping for the R&D Tax Incentive has never been more important. Australia’s Federal Government is very careful to ensure that the money it hands out in this program goes towards genuine, substantiated activities and expenses. This means AusIndustry wants to see contemporaneous records of your experimental activities, and the ATO wants to see how you connect all of your claimed expenses to the experimental activities.

While it is true that companies wanting to receive the R&D Tax Incentive will have to undertake extra work to ensure their records are sufficient to satisfy both AusIndustry and the ATO, the good news is that help is available to make sure you get it right.

Firstly, know what the rules are and what is required. For this, our Substantiation Checklist is a handy tool that can help show what the goals are. The Substantiation Checklist is available with several other key record keeping tools in our R&D Template Package.

The next step is to review your records and check where improvements can be made. For example, do your invoices reference your R&D activities? If it is hard to make the connection between your supplier or contractor invoice and the activities that you have performed, then don’t expect the ATO to make the leap for you. Instead, advise your suppliers and contractors of what your expectations are for invoicing and reporting and make sure they follow through.

Finally, get a professional to help you. Here at R&D SmartTax we regularly help clients bring their record-keeping up to date with the requirements. This can mean that your resources can concentrate on the conduct of the R&D, while we help with the paperwork. Short, regular sessions to review records can make a big difference when it comes to audit time.

In the R&D tax world, it is not what you know, but what you can prove. And unless you can prove every statement and every cost that you claim for with solid record keeping, then it will not be claimable. But don’t panic, just follow our steps above, and your record keeping will be fine.


Posted By: R&D SmartTax

Smartphone and tablet applications (apps) are constantly evolving, and I’m sure a few of you reading this will be in the middle of app development as we speak. But like most startup businesses I know, I can bet that you prefer to spend most of your time doing the R&D, rather than writing about it or recording it.

Unfortunately poor record keeping will definitely not convince AusIndustry of your eligibility for the lucractive R&D Tax Incentive program. So this is why I found this article by Annabel Hodges on 15 Best Apps for a Productive Day at Work a great set of tips to help you with your R&D record keeping.

The two main areas I would like you to focus on are:
1) record keeping – I am a fan of Evernote for easily tracking notes, photos, anything in a quick-tag system so you can collate project records quickly for your claim; and

2) time recording – I hate timesheets as much as the next person, but if you want the big dollars that the government is handing out, then be prepared to spend a bit of time showing the ATO how you spend your time on your experimental activities. Two great apps are shown here but there are plenty of others out there if you look around.

So enjoy the article, happy technology development, and if you have any other great tips or apps on how you make your R&D record keeping easier, let us know and we will share. After all, you never know when someone else’s innovation will come in handy in your life.

To read the article, please click here.

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Posted By: R&D SmartTax

The Australian Innovation Challenge in association with Shell, is now open for entries. The deadline is 12th of August, weekly finalists will be announced from the 13th of October and on the 1st of December the winners will be announced.

The awards have nine cash prizes. Seven professional categories, each carrying a prize of $5000, cover everything from clean energy technology to astronomy. The overall winner will receive a further $25,000. The Backyard Innovation category is open to the general public, and the winner will take out $10,000 in prize money.

To see the rules, be inspired by 2011’s winners and submit your entries click here to go to the website.

Did you know? You can receive a grant and also access the R&D Tax Incentive? If you would like to find out how you can maximise your benefits from your smart ideas, contact us at R&D SmartTax at [email protected].

Posted By: R&D SmartTax

On 1 July 2012 the gates opened for companies to make claims for Australia’s new R&D Tax Incentive program. If there were any doubts as to whether this new program would lure companies in, especially with the much hyped 45% refundable cash offset for SMEs, then these doubts have certainly been dispelled.

Most R&D tax consultants are reporting a significant rush in claimant activity, even at this early stage of the “claim season”. There was one report of a company having organised its accounts and claim to be prepared early so that it could submit its claim on 1 July itself.

Other companies are also reporting to be acting much more quickly than normal, pressuring accountants to finalise accounts as soon as possible as well as acting quickly to collate claim documents ready for lodgement with AusIndustry and the ATO.

Here at R&D SmartTax we are not too surprised by these reports, as there are two big reasons for companies to make a quick claim this year. The first is the potential for large amounts of cash to be handed out by the ATO. A 45% refundable cash offset can mean tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank for many small companies, with potentially millions on offer for loss-making researchers such as those in the biotechnology industry. The second big reason is the growing need for cash by SMEs. Australia’s current economic climate is leaving many industries, particularly those in the manufacturing sector, without much cash support. We know that thousands of SMEs are crying out for additional cash funding to keep businesses afloat. With this “perfect storm” of need for cash, plus a sizable cash (did we mention NON-TAXABLE) cheque on offer, it is no wonder everyone is hurrying to get their entitlement.

To check your eligibility, access claim templates and make sure you don’t miss out on your rightful cash entitlement this tax time, then visit our website here. And don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] if you have any queries.

Posted By: R&D SmartTax

Are you ready? From 1 July 2012 companies can lodge their R&D Tax Incentive Application forms with AusIndustry, starting the process towards receiving thousands of dollars in benefits from the ATO. AusIndustry is the Federal Government body tasked with administering the eligibility and registration of research and development activities for the R&D Tax Incentive program.

The 2012 R&D Tax Incentive “Application: Registration of R&D Activities” form is a brand new form tailored to the brand new R&D Tax Incentive program. As such we thought it would be a good idea to put forward our 5 most important tips towards completing this form correctly and getting your R&D claim over the line.

1. Quality Over Quantity
AusIndustry has told us that the information you submit should have sufficient technical detail so that they understand your projects and activities. However don’t submit excessive information assuming that they will appreciate your extra efforts as this will likely make assessing your claim more difficult rather than easier.

2. Address the Criteria
Make sure you read all the notes and guidelines before you write your responses, and address all criteria listed in the questions. If you give AusIndustry exactly what it is looking for then it will have no reason to undertake further reviews or audits of your R&D claim.

3. Disclose Collaborations
Collaborations between your company and other research organisations including CRCs and Research Service Providers will need to be disclosed. However in most circumstances it will be unlikely you will need to disclose any work by subcontractors unless undertaken in a true collaborative effort.

4. One Form Per Claimant
Each form downloaded has an ID tag unique to each claimant. This means you will need to download a separate form for each claimant entity. Forms are in a .pdf format and can be saved and shared amongst people helping to prepare and review. However note that you can only print a full copy of the form before completing any sections. If you partially complete the form and then print it, you will only see the sections you have completed.

5. Attachments are Allowed
A brand new feature that you should take advantage of. It is not mandatory to attach any documents to your claim. However it is our view that should your company have photos or diagrams that help to articulate your project, then you should definitely attach these. After all, a picture speaks a thousand words!

As a final tip, AusIndustry continues to stress how important record-keeping is for your R&D claim. Make sure you keep a folder and documents for each area of eligibility you are addressing with your claim.

For record-keeping Templates including a Substantiation Checklist, go to the R&D SmartTax website here. And do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions or queries about making R&D tax claims.

Posted By: R&D SmartTax

The popular R&D Template Package is back! Your R&D Tax Incentive claim will now be a lot easier to prepare with the release of our 2012 R&D Template Package. At R&D SmartTax we have been very busy “researching and developing” a new range of compliance tools to help small businesses more easily make R&D Tax Incentive claims. We are proud to show you our list of R&D Templates here:

1. R&D Project Plan Template
2. R&D Calculations Template
3. R&D Experiment Record
4. R&D Experiment Register
5. R&D Labour Record
6. New Learnings Report
7. Record Keeping Folders for your Computer

The Templates are simple, easy to use and do not require any special software for your computer.

The 2012 R&D Template Package is available now from the R&D SmartTax website. Simply go to or click here to be taken straight there.

Posted By: R&D SmartTax

If you are a company with a 30 June financial year end, then 30 April is an important deadline for you and your R&D tax claim.

30 April is the deadline by which all R&D Applications must be lodged with AusIndustry. Lodgement provides your company with a Registration Number and your Registration Number is used by the Australian Taxation Office to process your Company Tax Return and provide you with your tax benefit and cash.

If you are concerned about the dwindling number of days available to complete and lodge your R&D Application form, fear not as we have 3 easy ways for you to get your R&D Claim finished before the big day.

1. Use the R&D Application Wizard to complete your form
The R&D Application Wizard is a web-based program designed precisely for the situation of needing a completed R&D Application form, but being uncertain as to what information is required or what format will pass muster. Simply click through each question and when you are finished, enter your email address and the completed R&D Application form will be sent to you ready to lodge.

2. Use our Templates to complete your claim
If you would like guidance on what documents you need to complete your R&D tax claim, use our Templates. The Templates cover adding up your eligible costs, describing your smart ideas in your R&D Plan, recording your trials and experiments and completing your Finalisation Report to keep your new knowledge and intellectual property for your company. You can then take your cost and R&D Plan information, slot it straight into the R&D Application form and be ready to lodge in no time.

3. Let Us Do All the Hard Work For You
At the end of the day if you are really pressed for time and would like the best chance of getting your R&D Claim in on time, use us to help you. We can come in, ask a few questions, view a few records, type a few documents and in no time your R&D Application form will be complete and ready to lodge. The best bit is that we have done this many times before, even on 30 April, so you will have the best expertise to get your claim right.

Whether you prefer to do your claim yourself or use an expert to help you, the most important thing is that you lodge your R&D Application form by 30 April. This is your ticket to your thousands of dollars in R&D benefit and we know that this money could make a big difference to your business. The R&D tax breaks are an entitlement legislated in the Federal parliament and it is important you don’t miss out.

Posted By: R&D SmartTax

Companies can start claiming cash benefits of Australia’s new R&D Tax Incentive from 1 July 2012, but are you aware of three important things you may need to do before 30 June arrives?

1) Finalise Payments to Associates
If your company has incurred R&D expenditure to an associated entity and wishes to claim it, the payment needs to be finalised in cash through the bank accounts in the year it wishes to claim. If payments are not finalised the company will either forgo the R&D tax offset benefit or else elect to claim it in the year the payment becomes finalised. It is important to note that where expenditure is to be claimed as an R&D tax offset, it is no longer allowable as a normal tax deduction to the company.

2) Apply for Advance Findings
Innovation Australia is encouraging SMEs to apply for Advance Findings which are a mechanism to provide advance certainty about the eligibility of R&D activities. If your R&D activities relate to the 2012 financial year, then you need to submit your Advance Finding before 30 June.

3) Apply for Overseas Findings
Similar to Advance Findings you will be eligible to claim for substantial overseas activities if you have an approved Overseas Finding. This must be applied for by 30 June.

Although these 3 things will need to be undertaken prior to 30 June, most other things relating to the R&D Tax Incentive will need to wait until after 30 June. The reason for this is due to the delay in the release of important guidance material by Innovation Australia which is designed to provide more certainty to companies about the eligibility of activities and expenditure for the R&D Tax Incentive program.

Unfortunately this will require further patience from the business community who rely upon the funds in the R&D Tax Incentive to help fund ongoing business operations and further investment in R&D. However to be hasty in submitting applications may mean unnecessary exposure to risk or conversely the potential for claims not to be maximised.

To find out if your business and projects are eligible for R&D Tax Incentive funding, please click here and use our FREE R&D Eligibility Wizard tool.

Posted By: R&D SmartTax

R&D SmartTax is proud to offer its award winning White Label R&D Eligibility Wizard tool for the R&D Tax Incentive Program.

The White Label R&D Eligibility Wizard takes the powerful self assessment tool for the R&D Tax Incentive out to the Australian public by letting organisations place the web-based tool on their own internet or intranet websites.  For a new R&D tax program like the R&D Tax Incentive this will help users deal with the uncertainty of the new rules while giving the owner of the website a means of capturing valuable visitor data.

The White Label feature of the tool allows website owners to brand the tool as their own using their own logo, web colour, font and contact details. Website owners are also given a secure weblink allowing them to view user results in real-time. For accounting firms the user data can be converted into new revenue through an R&D tax claim or potentially other tax or accounting work. Similarly R&D firms can also use the tool as a means to capture new R&D projects in an easy, accessible format which can be useful for regionally diverse users operating at low bandwidth.

Setting up the White Label R&D Eligibility Wizard is very simple. Website owners provide the branding details in a form found on our website and within 48 hours the html code is emailed for the web developer to insert in the site. To date web developers have stated around 15-30 minutes is all that is required to insert the wizard into the website.

A 12 month licence of the White Label R&D Eligibility Wizard starts at only $695 plus GST. With the R&D Tax Incentive for SMEs providing a return of 45% on expenditure we are confident this represents terrific value for users.

Posted By: R&D SmartTax

After passing the legislation for the new R&D Tax Incentive in September, the Federal Government has now started to release some of the more practical informaton to aid companies and tax practitioners in their interpretation of the new rules.

First to be released was the Draft Copy of the Advance or Overseas Finding form. While not for actual use, this does give some guidance as to the type of information the Government will request for advance registration.

Next came the Government’s feedback mechanism for the new R&D Tax Incentive, the R&D Tax Incentive – Discussion Paper with good news that the time for responses is now extended until Tuesday 31 January 2012.

Most recently the Industry Research and Development Regulations 2011 became operative on the 26th of November and provides presriptions on the level of information required in the Application to Register Activities. It is worth noting the level of information required is largely greater than the previous R&D Application form for the R&D Tax Concession and R&D Tax Offset.

In particular, Section 4.03 of the Regulations notes that the following information must be provided in the new Application to Register Activities:

  • whether an activity is Core or Supporting
  • the relationship of Supporting activities to Core activities
  • whether the Supporting activities meet the dominant purpose test if required
  • the new knowledge each Core activity is expected to generate
  • an expenditure breakdown between Core and Supporting activities

As companies with 30 June year ends are almost 6 months through the 2012 financial year, there may be concern as to whether current record keeping is sufficient to meet the new requirements. However despite this new information being released, there is still much more to come including industry guidelines and further fact sheets and pronouncements by the various committees surrounding the program. As such the recommendation here is still the same as previous. Continue with your record keeping, ensuring labour records are regularly maintained in sufficient detail. Don’t make any hasty decisions yet about the eligibility and scope of projects and stay patient, as we are trying to, with this transition phase.

If there are any specific queries, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].

About R&DSmartTax

R&D SmartTax tools were born out of a desire to help the many smart small Australian companies access the R&D Tax Break benefits without the need for hours spent reading tax literature or expensive consultant fees. The R&D Eligibility Wizard is designed to be low cost, easy to use and available for all Australian industries.


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A. Blauensteiner
Australian Institute of Commercialisation

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