New portal in the works to modernise application process for R&D Tax Incentive scheme

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A new government portal is set to modernise and smooth over the process of R&D Tax Incentive applications, allowing businesses to better manage their registrations and applications from one spot online.

Work is currently underway to create a new online platform, designed to offer a little more clarity for businesses and startups tackling the complex incentive.

SmartCompany understands it will offer controls over who can access a company’s registration form, through MyGovID.

Businesses will be able to submit requests for extensions, or withdraw or edit their applications. The portal will also show the status of the application, and indicate when any deadlines are looming.

A real-time, in-form validation and pre-filling capability is also set to help guide business owners in their applications, in a bid to improve the quality of submissions.

Deloitte is set to provide program management, change management, data migration and business support services to get the new portal up and running.

The changes are expected to come into effect in the second half of 2021. In July, a suite of changes to the scheme are also due to come into effect.

The new platform comes after the federal government pledged $2 billion to the RDTI scheme in the 2020 Budget, while also rolling back some controversial changes that were in the works.

A $4 million cap on RDTI refunds was removed, and plans to introduce more tiers to refunds were scrapped.

The tax incentive is a notoriously tricky beast, and one that’s been the subject of much discussion over the past few years.

Specifically, debate remains around how the scheme serves software-based businesses. In 2019, startup Airtasker was ordered to repay millions in incentive payments following an audit.

That led to concerns that earlier-stage startups might be dissuaded from taking advantage of the program, for fear of inadvertently racking up unmanageable debt.

More recently, in public hearings and submissions to the Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology, both StartupAus chief Alex McCauley and small business and family enterprise ombudsman Kate Carnell have called for a new, separate scheme tailored specifically to software.

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