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A tax incentive aimed at encouraging businesses to invest in science and technology research and development in South Africa was announced by the Department of Science and Technology on Thursday.

Companies undertaking scientific and technological research and development (R&D) in South Africa can qualify for a 150% tax deduction for operational R&D expenditure in terms of section 11D of the Income Tax Act, the department said.

The incentive is available to businesses of all sizes and in all sectors of the economy, as long as they are registered in South Africa. To qualify for the deduction, the R&D activities against which the expenditure is incurred must be approved by the Minister of Science and Technology.

“The incentive is aimed at encouraging businesses to invest in R&D in South Africa while helping companies build capabilities and innovations by creating new products, processes, devices and techniques, and/or significantly improving existing ones.

“It is part of a package of measures that the government has introduced to support R&D-led innovation, industrial development and employment creation,” the department said.

Application process

Taxation laws have been amended to clarify the intentions of the incentive and to introduce a pre-approval process for R&D activities undertaken after 1 October 2012.

To access the incentive, a company must complete an application form and submit it to the Department of Science and Technology, which is responsible for the administration of the process. Application must be made before the R&D is undertaken.


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