Research & Development - Are you claiming the tax relief?

In assisting my clients to make R&D tax relief claims since the launch of the government's R&D tax relief incentive scheme (some 14 years ago now!), I've come across many diverse and interesting projects. I am constantly amazed by the range of innovation in the businesses I work with, and admire the dogged enthusiasm of business owners who constantly strive to push the boundaries of what is possible within their respective industry.

Many companies fail to appreciate the breadth of activities that may be considered as 'research and development' meaning that they miss out on tax refunds, tax savings or cash credits (for loss making companies)… it's not just about men in white coats or rocket scientists!

Examples of recent successful claims that we have been involved with include:


Examples of advances sought

Cash/Tax benefit

IT systems

Finding out how to manage increasing data volumes without compromising end-to-end latency.

£230k of tax saved over 3 return periods.

Plastics engineering

Finding out how to integrate new materials and product component combinations into a seamless and effi cient manufacturing process without jeopardising the innovative design features and quality of the finished product.

£31k of tax saved over 2 return periods.

Packaged wipes

Developing a process to impregnate cheaper materials with formulations without jeopardising the material strength or performance in use.

£50k of tax saved over 2 return periods.

Equipment engineering

Finding out how to use alternative mechanical technologies to replicate the strength and lifting effi ciencies of hydraulic processes.

£21k tax refund over 2 return periods.

Software development

Extending the capabilities of search based algorithms to accelerate recognition and navigation of huge data sets.

£23k cash credit.

If you can answer yes to the following questions then there is every chance that your company may qualify for this relief too!

Do you:

  • Employ engineers, scientists or IT personnel?
  • Undertake engineering or software design or feasibility studies for others or yourself?
  • Develop (create or improve on) products, processes, materials, devices, services or systems for others or yourself?

Remember, whatever it is your company is looking to introduce, it does not have to be something brand new - it does not even need to be particularly innovative (doing work to replicate the specifications/effects of existing products and/or processes but in a fundamentally different way is equally valid). R&D tax relief applies equally to product, process and systematic improvements. The key thing is that the solution is not readily deducible i.e. there were significant uncertainties around the potential for success and the company faced challenges and set backs when attempting to realise the improvements (specifications and/or functionality) sought. Most importantly, success is not required!

If you would like to explore this further please contact me to arrange for one of our R&D tax relief specialists to speak with you - Mike Waterfield

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