The Federal Government has indicated that they are very keen to support innovative businesses. There are a number of funding options available by way of government grants for businesses that can meet the Government qualification requirements.
If your company has been “experimenting” to try and solve a problem in your business for which there was previously no useable solution you may be eligible to claim those activities under the Research & Development (“ R &D”) Tax Incentive. If you believe your company may qualify you need to register with AusIndustry. That body will determine if your process meets their innovation requirements and, if you are successful, will provide you with a registration number that is then incorporated into your company’s income tax return where you make your claim for the Tax Incentive. There is a separate round of incentives each financial year. Registration is undertaken in the months following the end of the year during which you incurred the costs. Therefore you need to first incur the costs and then seek the incentive after the end of the financial year.
For the 2017 financial year the rates of assistance under the R&D Tax Incentive are 43.5 per cent for eligible entities with a turnover under $20 million per annum and not controlled by a tax exempt entity and 38.5 per cent for all other eligible entities.
The incentive is obtained either as a refund of cash in circumstances where the company has no taxable income or as a rebate of tax where the company does have taxable income.
The R & D Incentive is complex and you should seek advice to assist you to make the appropriate claim. You should be particularly aware that the applicant for grants must be a company.
The Federal Government also operates an Entrepreneurs Programme that provides assistance to innovative businesses. Of particular interest is the Accelerating Commercialisation Grants, which is a merit based programme that encourages and assists small and medium businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers to commercialise novel products, processes and services.
This grant provides up to 50% of expenditure to a maximum of $1 million and includes access to an expert network as well as access to promotional opportunities. More details can be found at https://www.business.gov.au/assistance/accelerating-commercialisation.
A recent addition to assistance available is taxation incentives for investment Innovation Companies. Unlike the R & D Tax Incentives, this scheme is available to persons who invest in companies that qualify. The system is designed to encourage high net worth taxpayers who qualify as “sophisticated investors” to investment in innovative businesses.
The incentives include a 20% non-refundable carry-forward tax offset on investment in eligible companies, capped at $200,000 per investor, per year and a 10 year capital gains tax exemption for qualifying investments held for at least twelve months. For further details of this scheme refer to http://www.innovation.gov.au/page/tax-incentives-investors
You should also be aware that there is also a raft of incentives and assistance available from the various State Governments around Australia. Your local MGI firm will be able to provide you with more specific details.