By Denham Sadler
A new platform for the delivery of the federal government’s research and development tax incentive will be launched next year, with consulting giant Deloitte landing a $1 million contract to help build it.
Deloitte won the six-month tender from the Industry department for “services to support research and development tax incentive ICT reform projects” worth $1,098,535, and is expected to be finished by 20 December.
As part of the controversial reforms to the R&D tax incentive (RDTI) revealed in the 2018-19 budget, now amounting to a $1.8 billion cut to the scheme and still yet to pass Parliament, the Industry department was provided funding to support program integrity and administration.
The Deloitte contract relates to these reforms, with an aim to improve the IT systems behind the RDTI and the customer facing forms used by businesses to register for it.
A new online portal for registrations for the RDTI will be built as part of the reforms and launched by mid-2021.
It’s understood Deloitte will develop this system, particularly in relation to program management, change management, data migration and business support areas.
Australian businesses self-assess for the RDTI and register for the scheme through the industry department. This application is currently done through forms on the business.gov.au platform.
The 2018-19 budget measures are the ones currently being scrutinised by the Senate Economics Legislation Committee, the same committee that originally knocked back the changes last year.
The Coalition reintroduced the changes late last year with some minor tweaks, and a senate inquiry public hearing earlier this month heard widespread concerns from industry groups that the cuts will lead companies to move offshore and damage local manufacturing and technology sectors.
It was also revealed at the hearing that the government did not undertake any consultation on the changes since the last senate committee tabled its report.
The federal government had also planned to outsource some of the RDTI compliance activities, issuing an expression of interest tender for “program integrity support” early last year. The successful applicant would have assisted the department in assessing whether businesses claiming the tax break were eligible for it.
Labor had appeared willing to scrap the outsourcing if it had won last year’s federal election, but the Coalition confirmed it would be going ahead with it in June 2019.
It’s unclear what stage this tender is now at, with no news since on whether a company has been selected yet.
The Senate committee is expected to deliver its report on the RDTI reforms to government in August, with an aim to finalise what changes will be going ahead before the October federal budget.
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