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Does my project qualify for R&D tax credits?

RD Tax North West

Does the term research and development immediately put you in mind of scientists in white lab coats, test tubes or high tech robotics?

You’re not alone if it did.

Many business owners feel that research and development (R&D) simply isn’t something that their company gets involved with; which is why many are surprised to learn that they may have already conducted R&D without even realising.

In fact, there are businesses that have successfully claimed tax relief for R&D work that involves website development, computer software creation, bespoke products, construction techniques and even improvements to the companies own processes and working environment.

So, the question remains; is your business missing out on R&D tax relief?

How to Know if Your Business is Conducting R&D Conducting R&D within your business doesn’t always require a dedicated R&D department and a multi-million pound research budget.

Interestingly, R&D can be a natural part of business activities that are carried out by an individual.

Of course, if your business is conducting R&D activities that are eligible for R&D tax claims, then you may be entitled to valuable tax relief, courtesy of HMRC. Surely a benefit not to be ignored?

So right now would be a good time to think back to projects that have been conducted for your business, either carried out in-house or through use of a specialist consultant that has been brought in to address a specific issue.

Do you have a project in mind?

Let’s consider some situations that could identify if your business is conducting R&D.

If you agree with these statements, your business could qualify for R&D tax credits:

- You came up against a specific problem or customer request that you didn’t know how to solve. Or you thought you knew how to overcome the problem but failed.

- Despite looking for answers in the public domain and industry expertise, no-one was able to offer a solution that appropriately met individual requirements of the project for a satisfactory result.

- The problem required using science or technology to develop a new or modified service, product or process.

- At first it seemed liked there was no obvious way to solve the problem and you were unsure if possible options would even get close to providing the right solution.

- Whilst trying to solve the problem, a valuable piece of information or knowledge was realised that was previously not obvious.

- The project was either successful in reaching a satisfactory result; or despite your efforts, remains unsuccessful.

If you now find yourself agreeing with any or all of the above statements for previous projects, it is quite possible that you have conducted R&D and are now in a position to claim eligible costs.

So, what are the next steps to help you receive R&D tax cash payments or corporation tax reduction? Making a Claim for R&D Projects Of course, making an accurate R&D tax claim requires a whole lot more than agreeing to the above statements.

The claim must set out convincing evidence of the R&D activities conducted as well as identify clearly what the uncertainties were, when they started and when they ended.

You would also need to set out which aspects of the R&D activities carried out are eligible for tax relief.

Costs that may be eligible include salaries, employers NIC, pension contributions and some expenditure on materials (for a more detailed look at eligible costs see ‘What R&D Costs Can I Claim For?’)

Most accountants aren’t trained to determine what exactly constitutes R&D and what doesn’t for the purposes of R&D tax relief; this is why many businesses favour the use of R&D tax specialists in evaluating and compiling accurate claims that meet all the necessary (and often complex) requirements of the R&D tax claim process.

We provide a helpful service to examine projects that could be classed as R&D and work with you to put together an accurate and credible claim that; describes the uncertainties that the project faced;

- how the uncertainties were tackled;

- how you decided on the best route to achieve a satisfactory result

- the knowledge, data and test results that were collected during the process

- eligible costs that can be repaid via a cash payment or corporation tax relief

Sound like a plan?

If you contact R&D tax credit specialist Nick, he will be able to talk you through the process and provide further advice to help determine if your project definitely qualifies for R&D tax credits.