How to Write the R&D Tax Incentive Application

What is an R&D Tax Incentive Application?

The R&D tax incentive application is a form used to register research and development activities for the R&D tax offset.

At Bulletpoint, we make it easier for you, ensuring your R&D activities meet the government’s criteria and helping you maximise your benefits.


Why do you need to register your activities?

Registering your R&D activities is more than just a formality. It’s your ticket to claiming the R&D tax offset and confirming your projects align with the government’s eligibility rules.

If you dont register, then you  cant claim the rebate.


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Who is in charge?

Two government bodies administer the R&D tax incentive program:

  • Activities – AusIndustry is responsible for the registration of activities in and for determining whether activities are eligible.
  • Expenditure – The ATO is responsible for determining the eligibility of expenditure incurred and claimed under the program.


What is the timing?

You have 10 months after the end of your company’s income year in which the R&D activities were conducted. For most companies this is 30 April the following year.
So start 1 July and make sure it is lodged before 30 April.
Completion of the R&D tax incentive application is done on an annual basis.


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Main Sections

The R&D tax incentive application is broken down to separate the key components of a scientific experiment, requesting you to outline:

  1. Company overview
  2. Project technical outline
  3. New knowledge generated
  4. Unknown outcomes of the project
  5. Core and supporting activities undertaken


What are you being asked to provide?

The main technical sections of an R&D Tax Incentive application typically include the following key components:

  1. Company Overview – This section requires you to provide basic information about your company, including business details and an overview of your overall operations.
  2. Project Technical Outline – Here, you need to describe each R&D project for which you are seeking the incentive. This should include a detailed explanation of the project’s objectives, scientific or technological uncertainties, and how the project aims to resolve these uncertainties.
  3. New Knowledge Generated – You must explain the new knowledge or information your R&D activities are expected to produce. This should highlight how your project contributes to advancing technology or scientific understanding in your field.
  4. Unknown Outcomes of the Project – This section focuses on the experimental nature of your R&D activities. You should describe the uncertainties involved in your project and why the outcomes cannot be known or determined in advance.
  5. Core and Supporting Activities – Break down your R&D project into core and supporting activities. Core activities are the experimental activities directly contributing to solving the technological or scientific uncertainties. Supporting activities are those necessary for, and directly related to, the core activities.
  6. Outcome and Purpose of the R&D – Clarify the intended outcomes of your R&D activities and their overarching purpose. This includes demonstrating that the purpose of the R&D is to generate new knowledge or improvements in technology or science.



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Common Challenges and Pitfalls

Applying for the R&D Tax Incentive can be a complex process, and many businesses encounter specific challenges and make mistakes that can jeopardize their claims.

Understanding these common issues underscores the value of seeking professional guidance.

  1. Misinterpreting Eligibility Criteria: One of the most frequent mistakes is misunderstanding what qualifies as R&D under the incentive’s guidelines. Businesses often struggle to align their activities with the strict definitions set by the program, leading to ineligible claims.
  2. Inadequate Documentation: Proper documentation is crucial but often overlooked. Failing to keep detailed records of R&D activities, expenditures, and experimental results can lead to difficulties in substantiating claims during audits.
  3. Overlooking Supporting Activities: Many businesses focus solely on core R&D activities and neglect to identify or adequately document supporting activities that are also eligible for the incentive.
  4. Poorly Defined R&D Projects: Companies sometimes fail to clearly define their R&D projects, making it hard to distinguish between regular business operations and eligible R&D activities. This lack of clarity can lead to the rejection of claims.
  5. Technical Writing Challenges: The application requires technical writing skills to accurately convey complex R&D activities. Businesses often struggle to articulate their projects in a manner that aligns with the incentive’s requirements.
  6. Proactive vs Reactive Approach: Many businesses take a reactive approach, only considering R&D tax incentives after the fact, rather than integrating them into their project planning. This can result in missed opportunities and non-compliance.
  7. Navigating Changes in Legislation: Keeping up with changes in R&D tax legislation is challenging, and businesses often miss critical updates that can affect their eligibility or claims.


Is your R&D approved?

Not really. It is a self-assessment process.

You are responsible for ensuring that you your R&D activities and expenditure are eligible.

But, you can always use an R&D Tax Incentive Consultant to assist.


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But I was told my R&D was approved!

Up until a few years ago they used to ‘approve’ it.

AusIndustry used to say:

I am pleased to advise that the delegate of Innovation Australia has approved the registration of the research and development (R&D) activities detailed in the application below. This decision has been made under section 27A of the Industry Research and Development Act 1986

Now they say:

The delegate of Innovation and Science Australia (the Board) has registered the research and development (R&D) activities detailed in the application below for the R&D Tax Incentive. This decision has been made under section 27A of the Industry Research and Development Act 1986 (the IR&D Act).

How Bulletpoint can help

At Bulletpoint, our consultancy services are tailored to simplify and streamline the R&D Tax Incentive application process for you. Here’s how we can assist:

  1. Compliance Checks: Our team specializes in conducting thorough compliance reviews of your R&D activities. We ensure that your projects align with the stringent eligibility criteria set by the Australian Government, significantly reducing the risk of non-compliance or rejected claims.
  2. Application Preparation: Preparing an R&D Tax Incentive application can be daunting. Our experts are adept at translating complex R&D activities into clear, concise, and compliant application narratives. We assist in all aspects of application preparation, from documenting experiments to outlining project goals and outcomes.
  3. Audit Support: In the event of an audit by AusIndustry or the ATO, having expert support is invaluable. We offer guidance and representation during audits, helping you navigate through the process with confidence and ensuring that your documentation and claims are robustly defended.
  4. Maximising Claims: Our deep understanding of the R&D Tax Incentive program allows us to identify and accurately capture all eligible R&D expenses. This maximises your claim value while adhering to legislative requirements.
  5. Ongoing Consultation and Advice: R&D Tax Incentive legislation and guidelines can change. We provide ongoing advice to keep you informed of any developments that might affect your future claims, helping you plan and execute your R&D activities with these changes in mind.
  6. Training and Education: We also offer training for your staff to better understand the R&D Tax Incentive process, enabling your team to identify eligible activities and maintain appropriate records throughout the year.

We can make it so much easier for you

Don’t let the complexities of the R&D Tax Incentive process hold you back from unlocking its full potential for your business. At Bulletpoint, we’re here to guide you every step of the way. If you’re ready to simplify your application process, maximise your claim, and ensure compliance, it’s time to get in touch with us.

Schedule a consultation today to discuss how we can tailor our services to your specific needs. You can book a meeting directly through our scheduling link: Schedule a Meeting. If you prefer to speak over the phone, feel free to call us at 1300 658 508 for an immediate discussion.

For more information or to send us a message, visit our contact page: Bulletpoint Contact. We’re committed to providing you with expert advice and support, ensuring your R&D Tax Incentive application is a success.

Take the first step towards a hassle-free R&D Tax Incentive application. Contact Bulletpoint now and let us help you harness the full benefits of your innovative efforts.


Frequently Asked Questions

It’s a formal process where businesses apply to claim tax incentives for their eligible research and development activities.

Businesses, both large and small, undertaking eligible R&D activities within Australia can apply.

Begin by registering your R&D activities with Innovation and Science Australia before lodging a claim with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Typically, businesses have up to 10 months after the end of the income year to submit their application.

You’ll need to detail your R&D activities, associated costs, and demonstrate how they meet eligibility criteria.

The incentive is calculated based on eligible R&D expenditures, with rates varying depending on business size and turnover.

Yes, but you must adjust your claim to account for the other grant amounts.

Processing times vary, but you can generally expect a response within a few months of submission.

You can review the reasons, adjust your application, and resubmit or seek a review of the decision.

Yes, maintaining detailed records of your R&D activities and expenditures is essential for validation and potential audits.

Successful applicants can receive significant tax offsets or refunds, aiding cash flow and reinvestment in further R&D.

Absolutely, startups engaged in eligible R&D activities are encouraged to apply and can greatly benefit.

Consulting with an R&D Tax Incentive specialist or reviewing ATO guidelines can provide clarity on eligibility.

Yes, if you’ve identified errors or missed eligible activities, amendments can usually be made within specific time frames.

While the focus is on Australian activities, certain overseas expenditures might qualify under specific conditions.

You’ll receive formal communication from the ATO or Innovation and Science Australia regarding the outcome.

Eligible costs include R&D staff salaries, contractor expenses, consumables, and some overheads directly related to R&D.

Yes, if you’re undertaking eligible R&D activities annually, you can apply each year.

Ensure you have all records and documentation in place. Engaging with a specialist can help navigate through the audit process.

It encourages businesses to innovate by offsetting some R&D costs, promoting growth, and fostering advancements in Australian industries.

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