Claim R&D performed by a contractor

You can claim amounts you spend on contractors who do R&D on your behalf if certain criteria are met. Contractors themselves are not generally eligible for the RDTI. This How-To Guide will help you determine if the work you are paying your contractor to do is eligible for the RDTI.


For some businesses it’s easier or more suitable to work with an external party to conduct R&D to help grow their business. If you're going to use a contractor for some or all of your R&D however, it's important you get enough information from the contractor to substantiate your RDTI claim.

This downloadable guide will help you understand what expenditure on contractors can be included in your RDTI claim, and what information you should require from a contractor. You should also read this guide if you are using, or intend to use, an approved research provider for your R&D. Approved research providers are generally considered contractors. It's essential to determine if the work your contractor is doing is eligible for the RDTI as early as possible in the process.

This guide helps you to find out if:

  • you are eligible to claim the RDTI
  • all activities included in your claim are eligible ‘R&D activities’
  • any expenditure incurred by the contractor, and included in your claim as expenditure on a contractor, meets the definition of eligible expenditure 
  • you have the information you need to file your R&D return and records to substantiate your claim if required. Note that from the 2020/2021 income year, you must also either apply for general approval or opt into the significant performer regime to be eligible for the RDTI.