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What is R&D Tax Relief?

R&D reliefs support companies that work on innovative projects in science and technology, but other types of innovation also qualify. The incentive is to encourage innovation and increase R&D and spending on R&D by companies in the UK.

It can be claimed by a range of companies that seek to research or develop an advance in their field. It can even be claimed on unsuccessful projects, companies that are making a loss and companies who haven't yet commercialised their innovation.

It’s one of the government’s top incentives for encouraging investment in research and development and allows up to 33.35% of a company’s R&D spend to be recovered as a cash repayment if the company is loss-making.

You may be able to claim Corporation Tax relief if your project meets HMRC's definition of R&D.

Many businesses don’t realise that they qualify for R&D Tax Credits or that they are not claiming their full entitlement.

Qualifying for R&D Relief

The work that qualifies for R&D relief must be part of a specific project to make an advance in science or technology. It can’t be an advance within a social science like economics or a theoretical field like pure maths.

The project must relate to your company’s trade - either an existing one or one that you intend to startup based on the results of the R&D.

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

  • looked for an advance in science and technology

  • had to overcome uncertainty

  • tried to overcome this uncertainty

  • couldn’t be easily worked out by a professional in the field

R&D Relief for Small Companies

You can claim as an SME if you’re an SME with:

  • less than 500 staff

  • a turnover of under €100m or a balance sheet total under €86m

You may need to include linked companies and partnerships when you work out if you’re an SME.

SME R&D relief allows companies to:

  • Deduct an extra 130% of their qualifying costs from their yearly profit, as well as the normal 100% deduction, to make a total 230% deduction

  • Claim a tax credit if the company is loss making, worth up to 14.5% of the surrenderable loss

What is R&D Tax Relief Worth to an SME

For example if you are an SME who have spent £50,000 on qualifying R&D expenditure:

  • If you are profit-making, your corporation tax will be decreased by £12,350

  • If you are loss-making, you can apply for a cash payment of £16,675

How long does it take?

We typically suggest you plan on 8 to 12 weeks, split equally between preparing the claim and giving HMRC to review it.

A well-prepared qualifying application will take 4 - 6 weeks for HMRC's dedicated R&D Team to process.

Our fees

One of our experts will have a free-of-charge conversation with you to understand your business, your R&D and the expenditure. We will write a brief report for you and suggest wither you qualify or not as the case may be.

If you decide to proceed, our fees are: £750 fixed up-front fee and 12.25% + VAT of the refund you receive and the £750 is credited against the final fee. 


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