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Publication Date: 
May 2016
Case study from: SmartForms

The purpose of this case study is to highlight the benefits gained by AusIndustry and the business community in transitioning from paper-based application forms to online forms for the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive programme. The online forms were developed using our SmartForms Service.

The background

The Australian Government’s R&D Tax Incentive programme provides a targeted tax offset to improve productivity and boost competitiveness across the Australian economy. This program is accessible to all industry sectors. We deliver this program in conjunction with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Further information can be found on the R&D Tax Incentive programme page.

Businesses are required to register with AusIndustry before they are able to claim the R&D Tax Incentive in their annual income tax return. To do this, they have to complete a registration application form every year. There are around 13,500 entities registered for R&D activities across various sectors of the economy, including mining, manufacturing and services.

In 2012, the R&D Tax Incentive forms were converted from paper forms to online (intelligent) forms, simplifying the application process using the SmartForms Service. In paper format, each submission was relatively complex in terms of size, the type of information required to be collected and the need to include supporting attachments. Moving from paper to online forms enables submissions to automatically upload to the Department’s client relationship management system for processing, thereby, eliminating data entry and keying errors.

The SmartForms Service

Our SmartForms Service assists federal, state, territory and local government agencies to make their forms available online. The SmartForms Service is hosted on a secure Government Cloud. It allows agencies to collect data electronically and then transfer this data automatically into the agency’s business systems to complete processing. Around 80 state, territory and local government agencies already realise the benefits of using SmartForms for grant applications, licence applications, permit applications, secure payments, contact and enquiry forms, and surveys. By using the SmartForms Service, agencies can reduce the regulatory burden on businesses by simplifying their use of government forms.

Read our SmartForms section page for more information and contact details on how to start using SmartForms in your agency.

The benefit

Moving the R&D Tax Incentive forms online has benefitted both businesses and AusIndustry. Businesses have benefitted through:

  • more user-friendly forms with real-time validation, increasing the accuracy and completeness of required information
  • a reduction in the level of effort required to complete the forms by automatically populating data fields from previously submitted applications
  • having easy access to forms via business.gov.au and a simplified method of submission with immediate receipt notification
  • eliminating the need for printing, postage and storage costs associated with paper forms.

The cost savings to businesses from this streamlined process is estimated to be $57 per form submission. Based on an average of 13,500 registration applications per year, this translates to annual savings to businesses of approximately $769,500. These savings are primarily a result of labour savings achieved by real-time validation, pre-filling, ease of access, and simplified submission.

Savings are also achieved by avoided printing, postage and storage costs. Similarly, the cost savings to the Department are estimated to be $127 per submission with a total annual saving of approximately $1.7 million. AusIndustry now receives fewer calls for help from businesses seeking assistance to complete forms, and it spends less time reworking and validating submitted forms due to the increased accuracy and completeness of the submitted forms.


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