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Refreshed R&D tax incentive guidance launched


Refreshed research and development tax incentive guidance, touted to be easier to understand for businesses, has now been released by the government.

By Jotham Lian 11 minute read

The guidance comes after reforms to the R&D tax incentive passed Parliament last month, following the government’s commitment to invest $2 billion in the incentive.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the improved guidance product would offer straightforward and accessible advice for companies accessing the R&DTI, making it easier to find the information they need.

She said the guide was developed in conjunction with tax agents and businesses, and now features plain English, less duplication, and helpful diagrams and examples, together with content aligning with recent Federal Court and Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) decisions. 


A key change between the previous 2016 guide includes a new definition of “hypothesis” as “an idea or proposed explanation for how you could achieve a particular result and why that result may or may not be achievable”.

It marks a change from the previous guide where it said a hypothesis should be “expressed as a causal relationship between variables”.

The key term “new knowledge” has also been explained to be accepted in the form of a new or improved material, device, product, process or service. New knowledge can also be in the form of new practical or theoretical understanding of a subject.

“By giving greater clarity to the scope of eligible activities under the R&DTI legislation, we’re supporting more Australian companies to self-assess their R&D activities against the criteria and offset some of the associated costs,” Ms Andrews said.

“Alongside reforms announced in the recent budget, providing clearer guidance material helps give companies the confidence and certainty to invest in the kinds of R&D that boosts our economy and creates highly skilled jobs right across Australia.

“We know that companies that conduct R&D are often more successful and contribute to economic growth at a higher rate.”

Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian


Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.

Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.

You can email Jotham at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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