Starting a business is quite challenging, and it demands managing a lot of things along with maintaining cash flow, therefore, any additional funding can be massive support for any start-up. Start-Ups are significant contributors to scientific advancement and innovation but are mostly unaware of their eligibility for the R&D tax relief claim. Although proper funding can aid a lot of start-ups to achieve their business goals faster. Claiming R&D tax relief brings greater benefit for short and long-term targets alike, but still, according to statistics, only a small amount of start-ups make R&D tax relief claims.
What is the R&D Tax Relief Scheme? And How Does It Work?
R&D tax relief scheme was initially introduced in the year 2000 by the UK government to encourage contribution to research and development in order to drive innovation in the UK. R&D tax relief scheme is open to any company seeking advancement in science and technology by creating a new product line or updating service. A company of any size can receive R&D incentives as long as scientific and technical uncertainties are addressed during the project. R&D tax relief is a very lucrative scheme that allows you to get a rebate on a company’s corporation tax or receive cash credits, depending on the company’s financial position.
Can Startups Make R&D Claim?
Yes, Start-up businesses can claim R&D tax relief as they are effectively working towards innovation and advancement in science and technology. Any company contributing to that can claim R&D tax relief from the HMRC, subject to qualification per the HMRC guidelines. And it is essential to note that what comes under scientific advancement or innovation is not necessarily a huge breakthrough. Innovation can be as simple as modifying an existing product or improving service. Additionally, there’s no limitation on minimum qualifying expenditure, and your R&D project does not necessarily have to be successful to be eligible for the claim. In short, if you are a UK based company, your project is bringing innovation and addressing uncertainty; no matter if your project fails, you can still claim R&D tax relief.
How Is It Beneficial For Start-Ups?
• Cash Injection
R&D incentives are a highly beneficial source of additional funding for start-ups to maintain their cash flow.
• Drive Innovation
R&D tax credits provide you with the opportunity to reinvest in innovation to keep the cycle of innovation going.
• Competitive Advantage
An additional funding source for your innovations can help you invest more in advancements in science and technology and stay ahead of your competitors.
• No minimum claim
There’s no limitation on the minimum claim amount, so no matter what amount of qualifying expenditure is, if your project is eligible, you can claim for it.
Why Do Start-Ups Miss Out On The R&D Tax Relief?
But, many start-ups miss out on their rightful claims owing to a couple of reasons. They are as follows:
• Start-ups Believe That They Are Not Eligible
Start-ups believe their work does not qualify for R&D tax relief because it is more project-based and “day-to-day”. However, that is not true as start-ups focus on providing practical and active solutions to scientific problems, regardless of the success of projects and the business culture.
• Have a Small Group of Employees
Start-ups are of the belief that they cannot claim relief as they do not have a large group of employees. R&D tax relief does consider employees directly involved in R&D projects. However, no concrete ruling determines the limit of the number of employees for the claim.
• Have Taken Grants/ Funding
Start-ups believe that after obtaining funding from another source, they are not eligible for claiming R&D tax relief. In reality, since R&D projects qualify for a claim, it is more beneficial for start-ups as this guarantees greater cash flow. Larger funds would mean greater capital for investment in future projects and business management to ensure that innovation and advancement in science and technology remain.
• Because They’re a Loss-Making Company
Another common misconception is that a loss-making company cannot claim R&D tax relief, which is not true at all. The UK government realise the importance of funding for a loss-making company to maintain cash flow. Therefore, it allows both profit and loss-making companies to claim R&D tax relief.
• The complexity of the claim process
Companies often hesitate to claim for the first time due to the daunting process. But there’s no need to worry about that; you can take help from R&D tax experts, who will assist you in assessing your eligibility and preparing a claim on your behalf. So you don’t have to miss out on such beneficial and valuable funding, which can drive your business forward just because of the complexities of the process. And if we go for the worst case, for example, your claim lacks supporting documents, or there is an error in computations, you might have to face investigation by HMRC. However, you can contact R&D tax specialists to get HMRC enquiry support even at that point.
At Square Finance, we help businesses from all domains and sectors claim R&D tax relief. Our R&D tax specialists assist start-ups in tailoring claims, ensuring they receive maximum benefit for their contribution to the innovation. Our R&D claim process is very simple and straightforward, so you don’t have to get into the complexities and risk your claim. All you have to do is provide our R&D tax specialists with project details, and our team will identify your eligible projects, hunt down all the qualifying expenditures and prepare a robust technical narrative for you. The claims we prepare are thoroughly checked by our accountants prior to submission to the HMRC, leaving no room for errors and minimising the risk of investigation by HMRC.