What is the R&D Tax Relief Scheme?
The UK government introduced an effective and highly profitable R&D tax relief scheme to support and encourage investment in innovation with a reward of a significant reduction in the company’s corporation tax. This scheme transforms businesses, enables them to grow with R&D incentives and ultimately boosts innovation in the UK. According to the HMRC’s definition of R&D, any company in the UK working to create something new or improve existing technologies resolving scientific and technical uncertainty with the help of competent professionals qualifies for the R&D tax claim. Any qualifying company is eligible to make an R&D tax claim against their eligible R&D expenditure, regardless of the domain and size of the project. You can claim R&D tax relief for the last two accounting periods via any of the following two schemes depending on the size of your company:
- SME R&D tax relief scheme
- RDEC R&D tax relief scheme
You can receive R&D incentives in the form of a reduction in your corporation tax bill or as R&D tax credits, and this scheme is very generous and open to all domains and sectors. In fact, you can even make an R&D tax claim for an unsuccessful qualifying R&D project.
Which Expenses Qualify for the R&D Tax Claim?
Once you are done with your eligibility assessment, the tricky part of the R&D tax claim is figuring out which costs qualify for the claim. Knowing precisely what you can claim is substantial because by missing out on any eligible expenditure, your R&D incentives will significantly decrease. Therefore, it is essential to know the qualifying costs which can be included in your R&D tax claim.
- Staff costs, including salaries, pensions, and employer’s NIC
- Subcontracted R&D
- Consumables like electricity, heat, and water
- Externally provided workers
- Cost of software used in the R&D project, including the cost of buying a license
- Cost of production of prototypes
- Expenditure made for the clinical trials
Other costs can significantly boost your R&D tax relief claim value, such as travel and subsistence expenses.
How Can You Increase Your R&D Tax Relief Claim With Travel Expenses?
The majority of companies are unaware of the fact that HMRC allows you to claim R&D tax relief for travel and subsistence expenditures. Broadly speaking, travel and subsistence costs come under the direct staff costs involved in carrying out the R&D project. These are the most overlooked qualifying expenditure which could be included in your claim to maximise the incentives.
You can include travel, airfare, hotel stays, and subsistence costs as reimbursements in support of your R&D tax claim. As per HMRC, you can include any expenditure in the claim if it must be first directly paid by any employee and later reimbursed by your company. For example, let’s suppose an employee flies to another country for the purpose of R&D-relevant activities. The cost paid to buy plane tickets paid by the employee and later reimbursed by the company qualifies for the claim. You can claim for staff costs as well as other reimbursements of expenses paid to the employees directly involved in the R&D project. Any reimbursed travel and subsistence costs are categorised under the staff costs for an R&D tax claim. Such expenditures can enormously enhance the value of your R&D tax relief claim.
Confused about how to add these costs to your claim? To include such expenditures in the claim, you first need to categorise all the costs related to the meeting, travelling, subsistence, taxi fare, meals and other travel-related costs.
Note: If expenditures are incurred by employees using the company’s credit card, that will not qualify for an R&D tax relief claim as money is directly paid by the company, not by the staff initially.
Therefore companies performing qualifying R&D projects must be aware of all the qualifying costs and eligibility criteria to mitigate the chances of missing out on the reward. Such as ensuring that every travelling cost must be directly paid by the staff first and later reimbursed to qualify.
How Can You Maximise Your Claim?
To ensure maximum incentives, here are a few things you can do:
- Create an expense reimbursement policy and keep related documents organised beforehand
- Keep a record of reimbursed costs
- Ensure all the payments are initially made by the staff from their personal account and later reimbursed by the company
- Keep a precise record of all the expenditures R&D tax relief claim qualifies for the claim.
- Ensure each cost you include in your R&D tax claim
Want to Learn More About R&D Tax Claims?
Square Finance is a team of adept R&D tax specialists with years of experience dealing with R&D tax relief claims of companies from various domains across the UK. We understand that R&D tax claims might seem arduous and complex initially; therefore, we are here to simplify them for you. Contact us, and we’ll be happy to assist you in figuring out your eligibility and tailoring a fully maximised claim for you.