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Changes will be made in the approval process for the 2020-2021 (year 2) income year. 


For both 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 tax years, you must register in order to receive the tax credit. You can register for the research and development tax incentive (RDTI) in myIR and you'll only need to do this once. You will not have to register for the RDTI every year.

Register for the research and development tax incentive

Once registered, you'll have access to the supplementary return from the 2019-2020 income year. In your RDTI account, from the 2020-2021 income year, you'll be able to

  • apply for general approval
  • elect to be a significant performer.

2019-2020 income year

For the 2019-2020 tax year, to be eligible for the RDTI, you must register through myIR and file:

  • your R&D supplementary return no later than 30 days after the due date for the relevant income tax return
  • your income tax return by the due date, or no later than 1 year following the due date.

R&D supplementary return

In the 2019-2020 income year, you must file a supplementary return. You will be asked to provide the following information about the R&D.

You will be asked to describe your:

  • purpose for doing R&D
  • scientific or technological uncertainties
  • core and supporting activities
  • eligible expenditure.

General approval applications only - filing date change

Effective from 1 September 2020 to 30 September 2021.

The change is for a situation where you could not apply on time because the COVID-19 outbreak and its effects disrupted any of the following.

  • Planning or doing eligible research and development.
  • Appropriately obtaining necessary information.
  • Getting advice.

If you are filing a general approval application relating to the research and development tax credit for the 2020-21 income tax year, you now have until the 7th day of the fifth month after the end of the first income year.

Read the Variation to section 68CB(2) of the Tax Administration Act 1994

Return due dates

This extension does not apply to your income tax and supplementary return due dates.

If you do not have an extension of time (EOT)

To talk about the options if you need more time to file your income tax and supplementary return, email the r&[email protected] 

Significant performers in the 2020-2021 income year

In the 2020-2021 income year, if you have or expect to have more than $2 million of eligible R&D expenditure in the 2020-2021 income year, you must either:

  • apply for general approval
  • elect to be a significant performer.

The significant performer regime provides large R&D performers with an alternative to applying for general approval. The compliance and administrative costs associated with obtaining general approval for large numbers of R&D activities may outweigh the benefit of the R&D tax credit.

Electing to be a significant performer offers a way to reduce compliance and administrative costs while still getting a degree of certainty around the eligibility of your R&D activities for the R&D tax credit.

Last updated: 28 Apr 2021
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