Skip to the content


Helping companies invest in life-saving research and development

William Buck is collaborating with independent accounting firms in Praxity Global Alliance to help international biotech companies set up R&D operations.


Firm: William Buck

Praxity membership: Member

Sector: Audit & Assurance, Advisory, Tax, Wealth, Restructuring & Insolvency


“We provide a landing pad for companies to do R&D in Australia.”

William Buck is a leading firm of accountants and advisors with offices across Australia and New Zealand. The fully integrated firm has a strong focus on the middle-market, providing highly targeted assistance to individuals, progressive businesses and community organisations. A member of Praxity Global Alliance, William Buck has become a valued partner for international companies looking to invest in the fast-growing sector of R&D in Australia, thanks to a unique combination of scientific and tax expertise.


The challenge

Australia has become one of the world’s most attractive destinations for manufacturing and technology companies to invest in research and development (R&D), thanks largely to generous Government support, most notably the R&D tax incentive whereby companies can claim back up to 43.5 cents in every dollar spent.

However, setting up a company to conduct R&D in Australia to benefit from tax rebates is complex. It requires expert industry, tax and local knowledge to avoid costly mistakes.

One of the most important decisions is choosing between a foreign-owned or Australian-owned R&D structure. Foreign ownership means the Australian entity can undertake R&D on behalf of its foreign parent so intellectual property ownership can remain overseas, which makes commercialisation easier in client home markets. The tax incentive is reduced significantly upfront because of transfer pricing.


The solution

William Buck provides the specialist support that biotech companies need. Dr Rita Choueiri, William Buck's Director of R&D Incentives, says: “We provide a landing pad for companies to do R&D in Australia.”

Moreover, as a member of Praxity, the world’s largest alliance of independent accounting firms, the Australian firm is able to link up with other independent firms to assist biotech companies globally.

Praxity provides a platform for firms to share knowledge and expertise so that clients get the support they need, anywhere in the world.

In a couple of leading examples of this cross-border collaboration, William Buck linked up with US accounting firms DHG and Moss Adams to help some leading biotech firms to:

  • Establish an Australian subsidiary
  • Connect with a resident nominee director
  • Achieve ongoing tax compliance (BAS and tax return)
  • Manage international tax matters
  • Successfully apply for R&D tax incentive claims that resulted in significant cash injections back to the company


Specialist expertise

More recently, the Australian firm began working with Tetherex Pharmaceuticals, a US biopharmaceutical company developing products to treat inflammatory diseases.

Tetherex has a worldwide license with Mayo Clinic to develop and commercialise a novel single-cycle adenovirus vaccine platform to treat multiple infectious diseases. Under this license, the biopharma company wanted to set up an Australian operation for the first phase of a clinical study to investigate a vaccine for Covid-19.

William Buck’s scientific and tax experts guided Tetherex through the different company structure options in Australia, and provided support on how to claim the R&D tax incentive “to take the complexity away”.

Tetherex opted for an Australian-owned structure to maximise the R&D incentive, which allows companies with global aggregate turnover of less than AUS$20m to access the 43.5% refund rate. William Buck specialists then helped the US company set up an Australian subsidiary, appoint an Australian director and carry out the necessary legal work so that the Covid vaccine testing phase could begin.


The outcome: R&D set up and compliance

Tetherex has set up an Australian subsidiary – Tetherex Australia – which is applying for funding by way of the R&D tax incentive. The support doesn’t end there. Dr Rita Choueiri explains: “Tetherex manufacture vaccine test samples in the US so we have helped them import the vaccines into Australia. We are just about to kick off R&D compliance – drafting the project description and describing the experiments, calculating the R&D expenditure to register the R&D activities with the program regulators.”

Rita’s scientific background is invaluable. Jon Larosa, Director of Tax Services at William Buck, says: “Rita is a chemist. Therefore, she understands how to articulate the experimentation for the R&D registration and can explain how the science will benefit Australia.” He adds: “When a client approaches us, we are able to give them an index of everything they need to be successful. The client will normally have a research idea in mind. But how to do business, set up, access the incentive with confidence, that’s where we come in.”


The benefit of Praxity

The same high level of specialist support is provided by every single accounting firm in Praxity Global Alliance. It underpins the success of the Alliance. And it means companies that invest in R&D, or any other sector, can benefit from quality, independent expertise in any jurisdiction.