By victoria Taylor

The UK government offers R&D incentives to support companies which are investing in innovative projects. Companies fulfilling prerequisites of the claim can take R&D incentives in the form of corporation tax reduction or tax credits.

Looking closely at the statistics, most of the R&D tax credit claims are rejected by HMRC due to insufficient documentation or incomplete records. Therefore, accurate record-keeping is paramount if you are looking to put together an R & D claim that guarantees success and maximum return. Proper record-keeping can make a significant difference in your claim and can maximise the chances of a successful claim mitigating the circumstances of rejection and simultaneously giving your claim fewer chances to be scrutinised by the HMRC. This blog explicates why record keeping is of immense importance for claimants and what kind of records are needed for the R & D claim.

Why Do You Need Record-Keeping For Making The R & D Claim?

HMRC requires you to prove your eligibility for the claim by providing all the supporting documents and records itemising R&D expenditure and the time invested in the R&D project.

Moreover, good record-keeping prior to your R & D claim will help you largely classify any R & D activity undertaken by your firm systematically. Having all procedures and costs taken note on time would ascertain a more assertive position of your claim in front of HMRC. All qualifying expenditures that may be missed when constructing an R & D claim due to human error or below-par record keeping will be accounted for. It is not uncommon to overlook expenditure that would otherwise be qualifying expenditure for R & D tax relief or credit under HMRC criteria. Therefore, to maximise your R & D claim value, you should consider all qualifying costs and find hidden qualifying costs; a systemised record is essential.

Besides that, good record keeping displays your R & D innovation as a methodic project, with each step elaborative in mentioning the peculiar details. This differentiates your innovation as well-thought-of and planned instead of being accidental, demonstrating your systematic approach to research and development.

Why Do You Need Record-Keeping For Making The R & D Claim?

It is understood that good record keeping can maximise your R & D claim. However, it is equally beneficial to understand the different types of records that your company can manage and sustain to reap more significant benefits in the claim?

Broadly we can categorise the records required for the claim into two:

1. Technical Records

Technical records are necessary to indicate areas where you have undertaken the research and development to seek innovation. The technical narrative must also inculcate the approach used to seek scientific or technological advancement and all the technical challenges encountered.

2. Financial Records

Financial records detailing all the eligible R&D expenditures are also tremendously vital for the R & D claim. These records provide details of the time spent by the employees in contributing to the research and development activities and staff costs you mentioned in the R&D report. Financial records should also include a detailed description of all the eligible R&D costs, including subcontractor’s costs, contract documents, consumable costs etc.

These are some types of records you might need to justify and support your claim, but the required documents depend on your company’s type and the R&D project you are undertaking.

How to Keep a Necessary Record of R&D expenditures?

Maintaining records may seem like an administrative burden. Still, it is the best approach for tailoring the successful R&D tax credits claim and has many benefits even beyond supporting R & D claims. You should ensure maintenance of the record from the time planning your R&D project starts.

Employee cost is a vital part of your R & D claim, and HMRC allows you to claim for the employee’s cost according to the time they contributed to the R&D project. Therefore, it is essential to maintain an accurate record of the time each staff membered apportioned for the project. Correct timesheets can be a strong foundation for your claim but ensure the accuracy of the recorded timesheet before including it in the claim.

The best approach to record-keeping depends on your business processes and operations. But the practical strategy can be keeping comprehensive timesheets to ensure real-time financial record keeping, so you don’t have to rely on the estimates while tailoring claims.

Keep cross-checking all the records to ensure you keep track of all the expenditures and other financial and technical documents. It is strongly advised to keep the records of those activities and expenses which do not directly qualify for the claim but can be used to prove eligibility for your R&D project is required. Such as, the cost of patent registration does not qualify but still is evidence that you worked on the research and development project.

How Can R&D Tax Specialist Help You In Tailoring Successful R & D Claim?

Here at Square Finance, R&D tax specialists provide comprehensive support to the companies in tailoring a strong technical narrative for a successful claim. Our R&D tax specialists offer assistance in record-keeping and preparation of R&D reports to mitigate the chances of HMRC enquiry. In addition, we manage all the claims process on our client’s behalf to ensure their maximum benefit without going through any complexities of the process.  










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