Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) - DIY vs outsourcing to a professional
Article 3 of 3 on the EMDG scheme.
In my last two articles on the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) scheme, I’ve covered the types of expenses you may be able to claim and some of the basic eligibility criteria. If your business is regularly spending money on export promotions (in some cases even at trade shows which take place within Australia) and marketing, making an EMDG claim is probably worth your time and effort.
How are EMDG claims made?
In two ways – you can either make a claim yourself (self-lodgement) or engage a professional registered EMDG Consultant to lodge a claim on your behalf. An EMDG Consultant can take the stress and hassle out of the process, and get that grant money into your hands sooner, so you can get back to focusing on what you do best.
DIY - how do I make an EMDG claim myself?
Firstly, you need to work through the EMDG eligibility checklist to ensure that you’re eligible to make a claim. Assuming you are, the next step is to begin collating invoices, bank statements, diary entries, travel itineraries, receipts and anything else that you have to support your claim.
Wondering what a professional would do for you at this stage? They would start by asking the right questions. They would also know exactly which expenses are eligible, which ones can be claimed as a percentage only, and which expenses are ineligible (even if they look good in theory). Applicants are regularly audited as part of the assessment process – whether it is your first claim or your fifth – so a good EMDG Consultant would make sure that you’ve dotted all of your i’s and crossed all of your t’s.
After collating all of your supporting documentation, you’ll need to get your myGovID (previously AUSkey) ready - or apply for one - and start the EMDG online application form. Self-lodging applicants can lodge their claims between 1 July and 30 November each year. Whilst filling out the form, you will be asked to provide a subset of the documentation you’ve prepared to support your claim, including an applicant's declaration, an example sales invoice, any applicable trust deeds and your company financials. Following completion of the form, your application will be assessed by Austrade. In some cases, you will be contacted by Austrade to clarify certain aspects of your application. Where it is your first application, it is very common for an audit to take place (usually over the phone or in person), essentially to ensure that your organisation and the products/services that you’re promoting for export are eligible under the scheme.
If you would like to give the application process a go yourself, you can save a bit of money as obviously there is a cost in engaging a professional to make your claim. Just be aware that you will need to invest a significant amount of time in understanding the various intricacies of the scheme (and changes from year to year), as otherwise you could be doing yourself a disservice by not claiming the full amount you're entitled to (in turn, actually having the net effect of costing you more).
Outsourcing - how can a professional help?
In short - registered EMDG Consultants will take care of the whole EMDG claim process for you. Aside from ensuring your eligibility for the scheme to begin with, a good EMDG Consultant will also work with you to determine whether the timing is right to make a claim (sometimes it’s best to hold off for a year or two until the claim will be large enough as you only get eight opportunities over the life of your business!) The EMDG Consultant will then support you in gathering and cataloguing all the required supporting documentation. From here, they will complete the online application for you, and liaise with Austrade on your behalf throughout the assessment process, keeping you informed at every step. They should also help you put systems in place to improve your record keeping to ensure that you legitimately maximise your claim on each lodgement.
How can I get some further advice?
If you’re still not sure whether your business would be eligible to make an EMDG claim or you would simply like to discuss your particular circumstances and ask a few questions, you’re more than welcome to send me a message or contact me at any time on 0414 470 282.
Can De Stefano & Co help me with my EMDG claim?
As registered EMDG Consultants – we can. The De Stefano & Co team has over three decades of experience working internationally and accessing export markets. With our mix of accounting, engineering and management experience – including handling EMDG client audits and an exceptional understanding of the EMDG scheme – we can manage the entire EMDG claim process for you. Check out our EMDG page for more information.