R&D Tax credits explained- Are you eligible?

Published 4th October 2021

What are R&D tax credits?

First of all, let’s explain what R&D Tax credits actually are. They are a government scheme that rewards UK companies for conducting research and development. It allows up to 33.35% of a company’s R&D spend to be reimbursed either as a reduction of Corporation Tax or cash repayment. Since the Government launched the scheme more than 20 years ago, the R&D Tax Credits Scheme has paid out £33 billion to tens of thousands of companies.

What are the benefits of claiming R&D tax credits?

Who can claim R&D tax credits?

Many companies are often surprised to find out that they are eligible for claiming R&D tax credits as the eligibility criteria are a lot broader than they first thought. The scheme applies not only to product development but also to activities and operations, such as new manufacturing processes, software development, and quality assurance enhancements.

Your company could be eligible for the R&D tax credit if it:

Every year more than 60,000 UK companies successfully claim upwards of £5 billion worth of R&D Tax Credits. Although this is a large number of businesses the scheme is governed by a strict set of eligibility criteria:

To get R&D relief you need to explain how a project:

Your project may research or develop a new process, product or service or improve on an existing one.

What are the different types of R&D relief?

There are different types of R&D relief, depending on the size of your company and if the project has been subcontracted to you or not.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) R&D Relief

You can claim SME R&D relief if you’re an SME with:

You may need to include linked companies and partnerships when you determine if you’re a SME. 

R&D relief allows companies to:

Research and Development Expenditure Credit

This replaces the relief previously available under the large company scheme.

Large companies can claim a Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) for working on R&D projects.

It can also be claimed by SMEs and large companies who have been subcontracted to do R&D work by a large company.

What can I claim as R&D?

The main reason many businesses across the UK are missing out on R&D tax relief is because they simply don’t understand what they can and can’t claim for. This is the main part of the application and can help the future of your business by saving vital funds.

In most instances you can claim R&D relief on revenue expenditure this includes; day to day operational costs, the cost of using or creating a trademark, production, and distribution of goods and services within claim.

To make this simple for you we have listed below some of the key areas which you can claim R&D tax relief for:

How much can I claim?

We have put together a handy R&D Tax calculator which is free to use on our website. This can help you calculate how much you could be saving and claiming through the R&D Tax relief system

What is not classed as R&D ?

You can’t just label an activity as R&D and hope to be able to access the tax relief. Many companies get quite a shock when HMRC rejects their claims because the activity simply doesn’t meet the HMRC criteria.

It is very common for companies to invest in new machines, new software, and experiment with new technologies. However, just because something may be new for the company does not necessarily mean it is R&D. It is important that you speak to a specialist who truly understands the criteria and application process before risking submitting a false claim.

How do I apply for R&D?

It is crucial that when you apply for R&D tax credits that your application is fully compliant and fully-maximised for your claim. This process can be complicated and any mistakes made could end up facing an HMRC enquiry and a delay of up to six months.

Therefore, if you are keen to make sure your claim is fully compliant and makes it possible for you to claim for all your activities effectively it is a good idea to speak to a team of professionals.

Our team of experts at Pierce have a 100% success rate when making claims and have saved £2.5 million in tax for an array of businesses across the UK.

What happens after I apply?

After you have applied to claim R&D tax credits, an HMRC tax inspector will begin to review your companies claim, including your technical narrative and financial calculations,

If your claim is successful you will receive written confirmation from your inspector that they have processed your cash credit or tax reduction. HMRC state they aim to process 95% of claims within 28 days. Once your claim has been processed you could then be waiting another 20 days to receive your money. The whole process on average can take around 120 days to receive your R&D Tax Credits.

Send Message
We just need a few details

Please provide the information below to access your download.