The Rudd Government today released draft legislation for the new R&D Tax Credit — the biggest reform to business innovation policy in over a decade.
The draft legislation follows through on the Government's commitment to deliver a more generous, more predictable, and less complex tax incentive by replacing the outdated and complicated R&D Tax Concession.
This important microeconomic reform is part of the Government's broad productivity agenda. It will cut red tape and provide better incentives to help boost the competitiveness of the Australian economy.
The R&D Tax Credit is also a central element of the Rudd Government's long-term agenda to lift Australia's innovation capacity and performance, Powering Ideas.
It is about boosting investment in research and development, supporting jobs and strengthening Australian companies as they continue to seize new opportunities during the economic recovery.
Under the new R&D Tax Credit, companies can invest with certainty knowing they can claim a tax offset of at least 40 per cent of their expenditure on R&D activities, rising to 45 per cent for companies with a turnover of less than $20 million.
The R&D Tax Credit will allow small innovative firms to get an immediate contribution towards their R&D spend even if they are not yet turning a profit. For example, a company in tax loss turning over $10 million and spending $1 million on eligible R&D activities will now receive a refund of $450,000 rather than adding $375,000 to its tax loss. This will provide innovative start-ups with the certainty they need to invest in growing their business.
The exposure draft legislation follows on from the consultation paper released in September 2009.
The Government would like to thank stakeholders for sharing their views and ideas on this important reform. The design of the R&D Tax Credit has been informed by these consultations. The main design features are described in Chapter 1 of the explanatory materials.
The Government is honouring its pledge to tighten eligibility, while also taking on board the views of stakeholders. For example, the exposure draft legislation confirms that the criteria for core and supporting R&D can be applied across a number of activities rather than to each activity in isolation.
The legislation is expected to be introduced into Parliament in early 2010 to ensure that taxpayers have certainty well ahead of the proposed 1 July 2010 start date for the new scheme.
Submissions on the exposure draft legislation and explanatory materials are requested by Friday, 5 February 2010. The exposure draft legislation and explanatory materials can be found on the Treasury website www.treasury.gov.au
18 December 2009