Technological advancements are crucial for the UK’s economy; therefore, the government initiated the R and D tax relief scheme. R and D tax relief is the government’s way of rewarding and encouraging businesses to contribute to innovation by creating new technology or improving existing services and devices. Being R and D tax specialists, we have assisted many companies in determining their eligibility and clearing out their doubts regarding the R and D tax relief scheme. Two things every other client is confused about are what qualifies and things that can impact the R and D claim. This blog discusses common mistakes people make while claiming and things that can affect your claim.
The biggest mistake that companies make is preparing a claim without understanding what can impact your R and D claim. Following are some common factors that can affect your R and D tax relief claim:
1. Not sure about the project’s eligibility
HMRC scrutinises most claims on account of including projects that do not qualify. Ambiguity regarding eligibility criteria is something which often makes companies hesitant to make an R and D tax relief claim. The R and D tax relief scheme is highly profitable for every company investing in research and development. Those who are undertaking R and D projects are aware that there is no prompt return; it is a gradual process that often results in disruption of the cash flow. Therefore, to streamline cash flow, what can be better than cash credits or tax reduction?
To resolve this eligibility puzzle, you can always consult R and D tax relief specialists whose experience enables them to hunt down eligible projects immediately. Consulting R and D experts can save you from making an erroneous claim and resulting in an HMRC enquiry or even a penalty.
2. Preparing claims without understanding CIRD guidelines
If you are planning to make an R and D tax relief claim, you first should take some time and carefully read CIRD guidelines to avoid making mistakes while making an R and D claim. Another reason claims are rejected is that people start preparing for the claim without a complete understanding of the prerequisites and guidelines. Preparing a claim without knowledge often doesn’t fit the HMRC criteria and is rejected. We understand how daunting it is to read 500-page lengthy guidelines, and without experience, it can seem ambiguous to you even after reading. Furthermore, incomplete understanding can lead to missing out on valuable funds; for example, many people assume you cannot make for an R and D project that failed, which is not true.
The convenient option is to claim with reliable R and D consultants with the knowledge and expertise you need.
3. Assuming all the technical activities qualify for the claim
HMRC provides a clear definition of what qualifies and does not for R and D tax relief claims. According to HMRC, any activity involved in bringing advancement in science or technology by resolving scientific or technical uncertainties qualifies for the claim. Many people assume that all the projects that involve technology are eligible for the claim. But no, all technical projects do not qualify. For example, the implementation of a new case management system for your company is not bringing any advancement or not contributing to the advancement of technology. Any such project does not qualify for the R and D tax relief claim. Including ineligible projects can negatively impact your R and D claim, and your claim might result in an HMRC enquiry. Some other activities do not qualify for the claim even though they involve innovation, such as social sciences, business processes, and marketing campaigns.
Before adding any project to your R and D claim, scrupulously analyse each project according to these four questions:
- How is the project contributing to science or technology?
- What advancement is being sought?
- What scientific or technical uncertainties did you encounter in this project?
- How those uncertainties were resolved.
4. You have taken grants
Taking grants can impact your R and D tax relief claim if you are an SME. Receiving grants will result in a reduction of your R and D claim value. However, you can still claim via the RDEC scheme, but with fewer R and D incentives. Therefore, if you plan to make an R and D claim, it is better to discuss it with an R and D consultant before getting grants. Because once you have received grants, it will limit your access to R and D tax relief via the SME scheme.
5. Claiming for innovation that occurred before two accounting periods
Another factor that can affect your R and D claim is claiming for innovative projects that occurred more than three years ago. Therefore, if you are considering an R and D tax relief claim, ensure you only include projects completed during the last two accounting periods.
If you are claiming for the first time, contact our R and D tax relief specialists now. We will help you understand all the prerequisites and assist you in preparing a successful claim, mitigating any chances of error.