Requirement to maintain R&D project records
AusIndustry and the ATO expect that all companies applying for the R&D Tax Incentive have implemented a process of maintaining and storing all documentation related to the R&D projects being claimed.
In the case that you were to receive a request for an audit from the ATO or AusIndustry, you will need to have all related project information on hand.
The records you should maintain and store
It is broadly recognised that the majority of small to medium businesses don't maintain time sheets. You do need the ability to prove that your R&D project and activities have occurred and how much time has been spent on them, but this can be achieved in a few different ways:
- Notes from meetings with the team working on your R&D project
- Business plans, information memorandums, investor pitch decks
- Collection of material from background research and scoping
- Technical documents, including the results of testing on the product, idea or service
- Notes and updated records to track the progress of your R&D project
Note that this evidence must be contemporaneous (created at the time of the R&D) rather than retrospective.