The department of science and technology has almost eliminated the backlog of applications it has received for tax breaks on research and development (R&D) projects, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said on Tuesday. The government offers companies a 50% tax refund on their operational expenses for qualifying R&D activities. The incentive is intended to reduce the after-tax cost of R&D, with spin-offs for both the companies and the economy at large. But take-up of the incentive since its launch in 2006 has been modest as companies battle with red tape, delays, and unexpected rejections. In 2015, Pandor established a team to review the system and recommend ways of improving the incentives. Briefing reporters ahead of her budget vote speech to Parliament, Pandor said the task team’s recommendations were being implemented: "We have really made progress since 2006." The department’s deputy director-general for socio-economic innovation partnerships Imraan Patel said the back...

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