Guest blog by Make UK Advantages Partner, ABGi-UKR&D Tax Relief: why it’s beneficial to bring in experts
Claiming for Research and Development (R&D) tax relief can be a complex and time consuming process where accessing expert advice can pay significant dividends. It is essential to source a genuine specialist employing knowledgeable and experienced people who understand the complexities and associated business risks within your sector.
To ensure any would-be adviser is up to the job of managing your claim and able to help you secure an appropriate rebate, here are some important questions to consider:
1. Do they understand the technical aspects of your R&D activity, the context of your company’s technical activities and why is this important?
Trained and technically qualified consultants should have an understanding and appreciation of the technical complexities of a company’s R&D activity. They can add to the discussion and review of the processes involved by challenging the validity of the ‘technical uncertainties’ identified (differentiating between ‘unknowns’ and ‘uncertainties,’ establishing and documenting the existing industry baseline for knowledge/understanding at the start of the project).
A good adviser will scrutinise assumptions influencing the approach to resolving these challenges, ensuring a more accurate claim for eligible activity which, through their knowledge of HMRC’s qualifying criteria, can also cover additional aspects a client may not be aware of. An adviser with this high level of technical knowledge could very well influence a company’s approach in managing future R&D projects.
2. Is your provider able to write the technical report, justifying why your R&D activity is eligible for relief?
An R&D tax relief adviser puts their own reputation on the line as much as their clients’ when writing the technical report for a claim. Taking responsibility for doing this is not only beneficial in terms of a client’s time and resources but, it should also ensure a higher level of objectivity for a claim. The technical report should answer HMRC’s key questions focusing on the substance of a clients’ R&D work and avoid the use of emotive language which can lead to enquiries. A well-drafted report which highlights the key information required by an inspector with a clear and compelling argument for tax relief can help you avoid awkward questions or unnecessary delays and, crucially, lead to a successful claim.
3. Can your adviser field and answer technical questions from HMRC?
You need an adviser who can deal with any potentially tricky questions resulting from an R&D tax relief claim. It is therefore imperative that they are qualified and experienced in the science and technologies where an R&D project has been seeking to push the boundaries of knowledge and understanding. Put simply, your adviser should be the best-placed individual to deal with any technical enquiries and be happy to discuss these directly with HMRC.
Carefully considering the above questions before choosing a R&D tax adviser will leave you better positioned to secure a successful claim. It will also enable you to spend more of your time and energy running a successful business which could be the most appealing reward.
Sandy Findlay, Partnership Director at ABGi-UK
If you would like to learn more about how you could leverage funds back in to your business through claiming R&D tax relief on your product development projects, call Sandy Findlay on 07807 739033 or email him at [email protected]