Aggressive R&D claims under scrutiny

June 12th, 2015

The ATO and AusIndustry are working closely with each other to identify taxpayers who may be involved in aggressive research and development (R&D) arrangements. In particular, the ATO and AusIndustry are seeking arrangements that are inconsistent with the requirements of the law, may have features of tax avoidance, and may be fraudulent.

In this regard, the ATO and AusIndustry have asked taxpayers to ensure that their claims for R&D expenditure are attributed to activities that are consistent with their AusIndustry registration – and, importantly, that expenses (eg labour costs) were actually incurred on R&D activities.

TIP: Companies should consider whether they have undertaken research and development (R&D) activities that may be eligible for the Government’s R&D Tax Incentive. Eligible R&D activities are experimental activities that are conducted in a scientific way for the purpose of generating new knowledge or information. To potentially claim the R&D Tax Incentive, the company’s R&D activities need to be registered with AusIndustry within 10 months of the end of the income year. Companies are required to maintain records to demonstrate, not only to AusIndustry, but also to the ATO, that the activities carried out are eligible R&D activities and that they incurred expenditure related to the activities.

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