Tuesday, 19 June 2018 Sydney

Warning for promoters of tax schemes involving R&D in the wine industry::

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) are working to pursue promoters who have been advising grape growers and wine producers to improperly apply for the R&D Tax Incentive.

These promoters are incorrectly telling growers and producers that the money they pay towards the compulsory Wine Grapes Levy can be claimed under the R&D Tax Incentive in order to secure an R&D tax offset. The levy can usually be claimed by a wine producer as an ordinary business deduction against the wine producer’s assessable income but cannot be used when calculating a refundable or non-refundable R&D tax offset for the wine producer.

ATO Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston said that while most advisers do the right thing, promoters of these schemes deliberately target growers and producers in an effort to turn a profit, often leaving farmers exposed to potential penalties and tax liabilities.

“Promoters of illegal tax schemes undermine the integrity of our tax system and pose a real threat to the financial security of those they prey upon,” Mr Cranston said.

“We are working closely with DIIS to identify these promoters and put a stop to their behaviour.”

“Registered tax agents, including R&D consultants, who advise or encourage companies to make incorrect R&D claims may be referred to the Tax Practitioners Board to consider whether they have breached the Tax Agent Services Act 2009. Promoter penalty laws may also apply to the promoters of schemes designed to inappropriately access the R&D Tax Incentive,” Mr Cranston said.

Mr Cranston reassured growers and producers who may have been misled by these promoters that they would not be unfairly penalised.

“We will be dealing firmly with the promoters of these schemes and want to reassure people who have inadvertently entered into an R&D Tax Incentive – or relied on advice they obtained in good faith – that we will work with them to ensure there is a fair outcome,” he said.

The R&D Tax Incentive is jointly administered by the ATO and DIIS. People who may be involved in such arrangements are urged to contact the ATO about the promoter and to make a voluntary disclosure or amendment to their tax return, or contact DIIS to amend or withdraw their R&D registration.

For more information about this particular scheme, visit ato.gov.au and search for ‘Incorrectly claiming the Wine Grapes Levy as R&D expenditure’.

More information about the R&D Tax Incentive, eligibility, and how you can go about accessing the incentive is available at: