Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar calls for stability to R&D Tax Incentive

November 28th, 2019 stability to R&D Tax Incentive

Speaking recently at the BESydney Global Ambassador Program annual gala dinner, Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar has called on the government to retain support for start-ups through initiatives such as the R&D Tax Incentive.

Scott Farquhar emphasised that if governments were to ensure that Australians are creators of technology and not just consumers of inventions made elsewhere, then an appropriate environment must be in place to nurture start-ups and transitional businesses.

Atlassian is listed on the NASDAQ and has been one of Australia’s most successful technology exports. Atlassian would also be in tune with the needs of business, due to having their project management software used widely by development entities of all sizes

The comments by Mr Farquar are in line with previous comments from the chiefs of CSL and Cochlear calling for stability to the R&D Tax Incentive, and have come at a time when:

  • The government is reportedly considering reintroduction of proposed reform to the R&D Tax Incentive. The bill to enact previously proposed reforms did not pass through the Senate last year, and a Senate Economics Legislation Committee recommended that the bill should be deferred from consideration until further analysis of the bill’s impact was undertaken due to concerns over its operation;
  • The opposition and some industry associations have called for overhauls of the R&D Tax Incentive due to perceived ineffectiveness.

Swanson Reed supports the views of the technology leaders in calling for stability to the R&D Tax Incentive, which has been the subject of ongoing actual and proposed changes over its brief history.

Whilst the current R&D Tax Incentive is by no means perfect, rather than making industry endure more turmoil from change, we would propose a better approach would be to correct flaws in the current programme and political environment by:

  • Introducing measures to maintain integrity of the programme such as:

                  o    Mandatory reviews for first time claimants, or refundable offsets over a certain magnitude;

                  o    Qualification and specific training requirements for advisors preparing R&D Claims;

  • Continuing to encourage participants of the programme review published guidelines, such that claims are within the letter and spirit of the law;
  • Listening the recommendations of industry leaders.

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