Advance Finding

AusIndustry compliance reviews are always conducted after the lodgement of an application. If a company wants to seek certainty as to the outcome of a potential review (which may be required to offset a risk assessment before a capital raise for example), then an advance finding can be sought.

Advance findings can describe activities across multiple years, but are only binding for three years, and to extend the finding, a new application must be sought after three years.

If overseas activities are being conducted, then an advance finding is required in order to be able to claim eligible expenditure against those activities. Overseas advance findings do not expire after three years and last for the duration of the activities.

There is a specific process and the application must be filed before the end of the first financial year to which the finding applies.

If the finding is positive, like an ATO Private Binding Ruling, this finding is binding on AusIndustry unless the facts change. An application form describing the eligible activities must still be submitted each year (so an advance finding does not eliminate that requirement), but the advance finding reference is included so that AusIndustry can cross-check that the activities in the application form match those in the advance finding.

From March 2020 onwards, Advance and Overseas finding applications may be assessed by Bellchambers Barrett Consulting Pty Ltd on behalf of AusIndustry. Should this be the case, the Department will confirm this. AusIndustry note that all decision making will be retained by the department.

The experience of the advance finding process is that it invariably requires a company to provide additional information and undergo an assessment process, similar to a compliance review. This can be time consuming and expensive, so unless certainty is commercially vital, it is usually not a recommended option. 

AusIndustry do invite questions and their staff are in general very helpful, so although informal consultations are non-binding, just making an enquiry can be a better way of resolving specific areas of uncertainty.

Phone: 13 28 46

Email: R&DTaxIncentive@industry.gov.au