Research & Development Tax Credits - The R&D Activity Statement

Want to apply for R&D Tax Credits?  Contact us today!

There are two forms to complete with applying for R&D tax credits - the R&D Activity Statement and R&D Supplementary Form.  While both are required to be filed, it’s the Activity Statement that needs the lions share of work to be done.  Here we look at what is in the Activity Statement, so you can prepare for filing.

How are the statements submitted to the IRD?

The statements are submitted through the IRD Investment Management System (Register Here

When can these statements be filed with the IRD?  

Together with your advisers you can file the forms before your tax return is completed.  But because information from your income tax returns will be checked against your R&D statements, this may mean the IRD will wait for your tax return before refunding any R&D tax credits.

Who can I contact for help?

While we’d recommend your first contact be with your adviser, the IRD has a small team to look over these returns and provide guidance.


R&D Wage Intensity Ratio

The R&D wage intensity is the ratio of expenditure on R&D labour costs to the total expenditure on labour costs.

To be eligible for a R&D loss tax credit the wage intensity ratio must be 20% or higher.  It’s useful to calculate this before moving through the process. 

Labour costs include:

  • salaries and wages paid to employees (including kiwisaver and fringe benefits)
  • shareholder salaries
  • 66% of contractor R&D costs


Identifying Research and Development Costs

For the purposes of the activity statement you’ll need to sort expenses into the following categories:

  • Cost of materials / consumables
  • Overheads
  • Depreciation of tangible assets
  • Cost of staff training, recruitment, relocation and travel
  • Total contractor R&D
  • Total R&D labour expenditure (not including contractors)
  • Other


Completing the Activity Statement:

The statement has a series of questions about your business and its R&D processes.  We thought it would be good to introduce them here so you can get a feel for what they are asking about:

General Information

This information should give the IRD a good idea about your business and how R&D links to your business strategy.

  • Provide a summary of your company and its operations. Outline your business strategy, current products and services and the markets you target.
  • Outline your current R&D plans, identifying key initiatives and how they link to your business strategy. 


You’ll need to identify a list of R&D activities, and group these into R&D projects for the purposes of the Activity Statement.

  • What is the new scientific or technical knowledge and/or understanding you are trying to gain? 
  • What new materials, products, devices, processes or services does the R&D aim to produce? 
  • Provide a summary of the R&D activities undertaken
  • Provide information on the stage your project was at by the end of the income year of this application (e.g. idea, research, prototype development etc). 

Other Funding and Expertise

  • What expertise (e.g. research organisations, expert advice etc) did you engage for this project?
  • Was any of the work done jointly or in collaboration with other businesses? 
  • Please state if you have received any Callaghan Innovation funding for this project


Loss Reinstatement - Paying It Back

There are a number of events that will cause the business to need to pay back R&D credits.  We recommend you seek advice if you've had any structural changes in your business throughout the year.

More Questions?

Should you have any queries regarding the above, please don't hesitate to get in touch

Disclaimer: Information provided to the best of the authors knowledge at time of publication.  Laws are subject to change and independent advice should be sought.  The above information is general in nature and should not be construed or relied on as a recommendation.