ESIC Audit Assistant (Record Keeping Guide)

Preparing for an ESIC Audit

Audit happens, so it pays to be prepared. The ATO is entitled to consider your fortunate  investment gain just like any other income. Income that would typically attract  Capital Gains Tax.

The tax law requires investors to carry significant factual records to support an ESIC  claim, which may occasion a tax bill many times more than the original investment.

Evidence of prior tax offset or the company ESIC lodgment including your investment will not secure your claim. Record keeping and facts can.

  • The investor must pass audit, not the ESIC.
  • Failure on any point will invalidate the claim
  • Time may prejudice your claim
  • Reconstruction of records may be difficult or impossible 
  • Many tests are subjective 
  • Commercially sensitive information is often necessary 

Preparing for an ESIC Investment

The moment has come and you are about to invest in a highly speculative company. The company claims to be ESIC eligible adding to the sense of anticipation.

Stop! Tax should be far from mission critical.

Temper the lure of the tax offset and CGT relief and apply good judgement. You could be in need of professional advice that should include consideration of taxation record keeping requirements.

In our experiance founders often jump to the conclusion that 'My company is ESIC' when the basis of the claim is on shakey ground. If you do not have the facts, like a favorable ATO ruling then you must assume the company does not qualify untill you hold reliable records sufficient to prove otherwise. 


  • Do an Investor Assessment and make sure you are not an excluded investor
  • Apply the annual retail investment cap (if applicable)
  • Get records from the company (Guide below)
  • Confirm that the company is lodging notification with the ATO
  • Advise your tax agent to claim the offset
  • Keep an ESIC file for each company / investment


ESIC Audit Assistant

Test your claim with the ESIC Directory Audit Assistant

ESIC Directory - Secure Your Claim

The ESIC Auto Assistant aims to help educate you on the records you may need in the event of ATO review. It has been devised based on private ruling assessments, ATO guides and practice. It is not meant as a comprehensive or definitive guide, though may prove to be invaluable for investors who are otherwise unsure of the type of information necessary to support a claim:

TIP:   ESIC's founders are invariably busy, so try to secure the information from documents they have to hand, e.g. a business plan may also include a sufficiently detailed 'go-to-market strategy', so you need not obtain both.