Last week the Australian reported that CBA and the ATO were wrangling over an amount believed to be in excess of $100,000,000 arising from tax breaks claimed for R&D.

In the same article, it was reported that the ANZ had used $44,000,000 in income tax offsets, mainly related to R&D, to reduce its tax.

Adding to the big numbers, DeMorgan Ltd announced in a press release that it had received Australia’s largest R&D Advanced Finding from AusIndustry and would as such be eligible to receive approximately $54,000,000 in R&D cash rebate for the R&D activities conducted in the 2014/15 financial year.

The interesting thing is that all three entities are involved in financial services/fintech – DeMorgan is involved in cryptocurrency.

In the AFR this morning, Joanne Gray interviewed Steven Joyce, New Zealands Minister for Business, Innovation and Employment. A comment that he made in relation to the above jumped out at me.

‘‘And if I look across the Tasman, the biggest people that access R&D tax credits in Australia are financial services and the mining industry,’’ says Joyce. ‘‘I’m sure they do some R&D but it’s not quite the industries you’d expect from new R&D and that’s why we want to stick with where we are going.’’

A new entrant into helping foster R&D in this market, Stone & Chalk hopes to attract and help support the growth of the highest quality fintech start-ups in Australia, across the full spectrum of the fintech landscape (payments, peer-to-peer, crowd-funding, automated advice, capital markets, crypto-currencies, etc). Hopefully some of these start-ups will be able to avail themselves of some of the big numbers from the R&D Tax Incentive as well and at the same time show that it is possible to have R&D in the financial services/fintech field.