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Aus gaming and ICT get R&D tax boost

AUD$1.8m tax credit for innovators

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Australia may increase its international competitiveness as a gaming and ICT development hub following a new R&D tax incentive passed by the Federal government.

From July 1 an AUD$1.8 billion R&D Tax Credit comes into effect for innovative industries including manufacturers, ICT and biotech.

It will deliver a 45 percent refundable tax credit to companies with an aggregated turnover of less than $20 million and a 40 percent non-refundable offset to all others.

Following multi-party discussions, the Government will introduce quarterly payments for small and medium businesses from 1 January 2014. These firms will get their credit sooner, significantly improving their cash flow and incentive to invest in R&D.

An advisory group will be established through the Innovation Australia Board to monitor the implementation and operation of the Credit. The Game Developers’ Association of Australia (GDAA) welcomed the introduction of the R&D Tax Bill.

“Innovation is at the heart of game development and the introduction of the new legislation not only assists in leveling the global competitive playing field, but also affords the local industry the opportunity to challenge traditional gameplay conventions,” said Antony Reed, CEO of the GDAA.

The Government, via AusIndustry, will run an extensive awareness campaign to ensure firms are kept up to date.

According to Ron Curry, the CEO of the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association, global game publishers have already shown interest in the Australian marker in the expectation of the R&D tax reform. “The games industry is already a major contributor to the GDP’s of a number of international territories and the introduction of the legislation could well put Australia on the same path,” he said. ®

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