Success Story: Software development company slashes tax bill through R&D incentive

“Catalyst are more than finance and tax experts; they are technical experts that quickly understand
products. They are able to understand emerging technologies and are able to describe complexity in a
way that clearly communicates our innovation.” – Pierre Aurel, Head of Payments, Synthesis


As one of Amazon Web Services’ first Advanced Consulting Partners in Africa, Synthesis Software
Technologies is focused on building advanced cloud architecture for customers delivering cost-efficient,
web scale and highly available services with global reach. Synthesis was focused on advancing
payments technology via two projects Halo Dot and Keystone. Halo Dot involved the development of a
novel product that would allow for any NFC-capable Android phone to accept contactless payments.
While Keystone involved the advancement of Personal Identification Number (PIN) security technology
by enabling the secure transmission of a PIN from a client device to the back end of a bank, and vice

Software projects in South Africa are often overlooked from an R&D tax incentive, and are known for
being difficult to claim. Only 38% of claims are approved by the Department of Science and Innovation,
while 62% are rejected. Identifying, processing and securing such opportunities, and dealing with
complex regulatory issues involved, requires vast expertise and experience. The Catalyst team worked
hand-in-hand with the Synthesis team to prepare the necessary technical motivations as well as guide
them through the various challenges and bottlenecks associated with submitting the application, and we
were ultimately successful.

The Challenge:

As a leader in the payments technology space, Synthesis is constantly looking to advance the current
state-of-the-art. The ongoing work at Synthesis is predominantly R&D-related projects. Synthesis were
aware that they might be entitled to R&D grants and incentives but were unsure of how to maximise this

The Solution:

Catalyst Solutions found that Synthesis’ R&D efforts were eligible for the R&D Tax Incentive and the
Support Programme for Industrial Innovation (SPII) Grant. They worked closely with Synthesis to analyse
all available opportunities to add to their R&D investment. The R&D Tax Incentive applications have
already been submitted and approved.


150% Tax Deduction 

Catalyst Solutions submitted an R&D tax incentive application for both projects ‘Halo Dot’ and ‘Keystone’. Ultimately, both projects were approved by the Minister of Science & Innovation and unlocked a 150% tax deduction for Synthesis on their R&D costs.  

KPI Snapshot: Success in Numbers – Halo Dot and Keystone


Percentage of qualifying expenditure eligible for R&D Tax Incentive


Both projects were approved in an industry known for having a 62% rejection rate. 

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