R&D funding

R&D Tax Incentive

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A scheme that will support a wide range of businesses to undertake more R&D and grow NZ’s knowledge economy.

The Government has committed to raising New Zealand’s research and development (R&D) expenditure to 2% of GDP over 10 years.

To reach this target more businesses will need to increase their expenditure on R&D. This will be supported through an R&D tax incentive.

Main features of the incentive

The main features of the R&D tax incentive include:

  • a credit rate of 15%
  • a $120 million cap on eligible expenditure
  • a minimum R&D expenditure threshold of $50,000 per year
  • a limited form of refunds for the first year of the scheme that will mirror the R&D tax-loss cash-out scheme run by Inland Revenue. A more comprehensive policy will be in place for the second year of the scheme
  • a definition of R&D that ensures the credit can be accessed more easily across all sectors, including the technology sector
  • the inclusion of state-owned enterprises, industry research cooperatives, levy bodies, and minority-owned subsidiaries of select Crown entities.

When the tax credit will apply

The Taxation (Research and Development Tax Credits) Bill is about to go before Parliament for its Second Reading, and if it is passed into law, the R&D tax incentive will take effect from the beginning of a business’s 2019/2020 income year.

For most businesses this means expenditure on eligible R&D undertaken from 1 April 2019 will qualify for the R&D tax incentive, and they should start recording their R&D expenditure now to ensure their records are ready to file at the end of the 2019/2020 tax year.

We encourage businesses to look into whether they might be eligible for the tax incentive. You can find out more about eligibility and record keeping obligations in Inland Revenue’s draft guidance material online.

For year one of the R&D tax incentive there is limited refundability available for smaller businesses with cashflow challenges. There is work underway on a more developed refundability process to support R&D businesses with limited tax liability and the Government is committed to having a decision in place for year two of the scheme.

More information about the R&D tax incentive is on MBIE’s website.

Updated: 1 April 2019