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The ATO advises that it is working closely with AusIndustry to identify taxpayers, tax agents and consultants who may be involved in aggressive Research and Development (R&D) arrangements. The ATO will be taking a co-ordinated approach to address these behaviours.

The ATO is concerned that these arrangements:

  • are inconsistent with the requirements of the R&D regime
  • may have features of tax avoidance arrangements
  • may be fraudulent.

In some cases the activities of these consultants may attract the operation of the promoter penalty laws.

To ensure details in the R&D schedules and claims for R&D expenditure are correct, the ATO requests that tax agents:

  • verify with clients that their claims are attributed to activities consistent with their AusIndustry Registrations, and expenses (for example labour costs) were actually incurred on R&D activities
  • tell the ATO if they are approached by an R&D consultant to lodge R&D schedules on behalf of taxpayers, who are not clients, and where the consultant is not prepared to reconcile or substantiate the information in the R&D schedule
  • come across claims that appear to be disproportionate when compared to a taxpayer’s normal business activity.


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