We often find that founders overlook the early stage tests in a rush to confirm they have sufficient points to qualify as an ESIC, though even professionals can jump to conclusions based on intuition or cognitive bias.
One good example of this is the hurdle regarding prior listing. Conservative advisers may assume that listing includes listing by proxy, i.e. ownership via a listed entity along similar lines to the rules that apply in the Corporations Act, though careful review of ATO guidance indicates otherwise.
ATO rulings have taken a more direct interpretation of listing, applying it directly to the company itself, i.e. the threshold is simply 'has this company listed'.
You may argue that this is not within the spirit or policy intent, though others would counter that the overarching goal of incentivised innovation is encouraged.
We'll be watching closely to see how the upcoming Tax Determination handles this issue and recommend that companies with listed company backing take the precautionary step of obtaining a ruling.