In the May 2018 Budget the Government proposed a series of changes to the R&D Tax Incentive which would further reduce the support it provides to private sector R&D activity. While advocacy by Research Australia and others has succeeded in having clinical trial expenditure by small companies exempted form the cuts, several of the other changes remain a concern. Research Australia’s submission to the Senate Inquiry on the new legislation has put the case for why the cuts should be rejected by the Senate.
Research Australia has made a submission in response to the draft amendments to the R&D Tax Incentive legislation, the latest round of changes since the legislation commenced seven years ago. Research Australia’s submission addresses two key issues.
The first is our concern that the definition of clinical trial is not broad enough to ensure the exemption from the $4 million cap on R&D expenditure will apply to all clinical trials activity, particularly for medical devices. We have worked with other peak bodies, including Ausbiotech and BioMelbourne Network, to propose an alternative and more inclusive definition.
The second main concern relates to the proposed reduction in the rate of the R&D Tax Incentive. For early stage companies seeking to commercialise new pharmaceuticals, biotechnologies and devices, this has the effect of directly reducing their cashflow at a critical stage in their development. Research Australia has opposed the rate reduction.
Joint statement on the Research & Development Tax Incentive
Don’t rip the guts out of Australian medical research commercialisation
Commercialisation of Australian medical research is under serious threat if the package of measures put by the ‘Ferris, Finkel, Fraser’ Review of the Research & Development (R&D) Tax Incentive is adopted and Australia’s medical technology, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical (MTP) sector is urging the Federal Government not to devastate Australia’s most innovative industry.
The R&D Tax Incentive is the most critical centre-piece program in the translation of Australia’s world-class research into treatments, cures, diagnostics, medical devices and vaccines. The program has been successful in helping attract more investment in R&D and fostering a strong Australian life sciences clinical trials and R&D sector.
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Research Australia has made two submissions into the federal government’s R&D Tax Incentive review.
Research Australia supports the report’s recommendations to:
- maintain the current eligibility criteria
- introduce an incentive to encourage collaboration with publicly funded researchers
- to release more information about claimants.
Research Australia has opposed the application of a new $2 million cap to small caps that are seeking to commercialise HMR and proposed a modification to a recommendation that would limit the R&D Tax Incentive to more research intensive companies.
The Government will now consider the recommendations of the Review together with the responses from the public consultation and then formulate its response, which is expected to be subject to another round of consultation, probably early next year.
As part of the National Innovation & Science Agenda, the Government has commissioned Innovation and Science Australia to undertake a review of the R&D Tax Incentive.
While Research Australia proposed some possible minor amendments to the R&D Tax Incentive, we argued that on the whole the R&D Tax Incentive is already performing well against the Review’s criteria of effectiveness, integrity and encouraging additional R&D. Any changes to the R&D Tax Incentive at this point in time should be limited to improving the way it is administered.