What is the RDTI and is it right for me?
Is the RDTI right for me?
If your business is using a systematic approach with an aim to both resolve scientific or technological uncertainty and create new knowledge or things, the RDTI may be right for you.
What do I get?
The RDTI offers most New Zealand-based businesses a 15% tax credit on money spent on R&D in New Zealand. You can use the credit to reduce your income tax bill. It is generally available to businesses who spend more than $50,000 on eligible R&D in a given year, but if you spend less than $50,000 you might be eligible if you use an approved research provider for your R&D. You can be eligible whether your business is in profit or loss. Special rules apply to allow you to include some overseas R&D in your claim if you meet certain criteria.
The main features
R&D Tax Incentive
Getting Started Grants
R&D loss tax credit
During the first year, it will be refundable to some companies currently in tax loss, or without enough income tax payable to use up all their tax credits. These companies can receive a refund of their R&D tax credits (up to a maximum limit of $255,000). This will help smaller businesses with cash-flow challenges. In 2020/2021 the Government plans to put a more comprehensive refundability policy in place.
You’re eligible to apply for the RDTI if you:
- perform a core R&D activity in New Zealand yourself or through an R&D contractor in New Zealand, and
- conduct business through a fixed establishment in New Zealand.
The RDTI is intended to reward businesses investing in R&D, so it excludes R&D contractors whose business is doing R&D for others. Find more information on page 29 of Inland Revenue's detailed RDTI guide.
To be eligible to claim:
- you must own the results of your R&D, or
- another company in your corporate group must own the results of the R&D and must also be tax resident of New Zealand or a jurisdiction with which New Zealand has a double tax agreement, or
- your joint venture or partnership (if you are in one) must own the results of the R&D.
Partnerships, look-through companies and joint ventures are eligible for the incentive if they meet certain conditions. Refer to page 31 of the detailed RDTI guide for more information.
You cannot claim the RDTI if you:
- receive – or are directly or indirectly controlled by, or associated with – a person receiving a Callaghan Innovation Growth Grant for the same income year;
- are a Crown Research Institute, district health board or tertiary education organisation, an associate of one of these organisations, or are majority-owned or effectively controlled by one of these organisations or their associates;
- are performing the R&D activity on behalf of another person who carries on a business through a fixed establishment in New Zealand, and/or;
- are a member of a joint venture, a partner in a partnership, or an owner of a look-through company, and not a New Zealand tax resident for the whole tax year.
A fixed establishment is a fixed place of business in which you carry on substantial business, like a shop, factory or workshop. You are likely to have a fixed establishment in New Zealand if you're doing core R&D yourself in New Zealand (rather than through a contractor).