Havilah Resources Ltd and Innovation and Science Australia (Taxation) [2020] AATA 933 (16 April 2020)

June 17th, 2020

Introduction:

A recent case heard in the AAT has affirmed an internal review finding that Activities registered under the R&D Tax Incentive were not in accordance with the legislative requirements.

The case: Havilah Resources Ltd and Innovation and Science Australia (Taxation) [2020] AATA 933 (16 April 2020) refers to R&D Activities claimed in the FY13 and FY14 periods.

Background:

The registered activities related to iron and gold deposits and were of an exploratory nature.

The disputed core activities were:

  • Understanding hydrology of the Maldorky region and developing a process for ground water management;
  • Securing fine-grained Maldorky tailings;
  • Hydrogeology of the Portia area basement rock aquifer system;
  • Hydrogeology of regional palaeochannel aquifer systems;
  • Cost effective design for confining fine-grained Portia tailings;
  • Investigation of gold in tertiary clays at Kalkaroo.

In December 2015, a formal post-registration finding was made under s 27J of the IR&D Act that aspects of Halivah’s R&D activities were neither core nor supporting, which was confirmed in an internal review in November 2016.

In December 2016, Havilah applied to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the internal review decision under s 30E of the IR&D Act.

AAT Decision:

The AAT upheld the previous decision that the activities were not eligible.

  • It was noted that the hydrogeological and geotechnical investigations applied in this case, “involve standard methods, not innovative techniques, for investigating routine tasks” and “there was adequate information available prior to 2012 for the general outcomes to be broadly understood.”
  • The lack of documentation evidencing a hypothesis made it difficult for Havilah to prove that a systematic progression of work was carried out in a scientific way. 
  • Most of the claimed activities were not core R&D activities because they were associated with complying with statutory requirements or standards.

Conclusion:

None of the activities claimed by Havilah were considered core R&D activities, according to the definition in s 355-25(1).

Click here to view the Havilah Resources Ltd and Innovation and Science Australia case.

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