Research and Development (R&D) tax relief (or credit) is a company tax relief that can either reduce a company’s tax bill or, for some small or medium sized (SME) companies, provide a cash sum. It is based on the company’s expenditure on R&D.
For there to be R&D for the purpose of the tax relief, a company must be carrying on a project that seeks an advance in science or technology. It is necessary to be able to state what the intended advance is, and to show how, through the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainty, the project seeks to achieve this.
These are the key questions that you will be asked when requesting an R&D Tax Credit from HMRC:
- How was it decided that R&D had taken place
- A description of the scientific & technological advance sought
- The uncertainties involved
- How and when the uncertainties were resolved
- Why the knowledge being sought was not readily deducible by a competent professional
- Were any grants, subsidies or contributions received for the project within the claim
- Who owns the Intellectual Property of the products resulting from the R&D
- Was the R&D carried out for others ie clients, this could mean your claim is rejected
Amount of relief
For expenditure incurred up to and including 31 July 2008 SMEs can deduct 150% in respect of their qualifying R&D expenditure and the payable tax credit can amount to £24 for every £100 of actual R&D expenditure. For expenditure incurred on or after 1 August 2008 SMEs can deduct 175% in respect of their qualifying R&D expenditure and the payable tax credit can amount to £24.50 for every £100 of actual R&D expenditure. The rate is further increased from 1 April 2011 to 200%, and a payable credit of £25 for every £100 of spend.
Large companies can deduct 125% in respect of qualifying expenditure incurred up to and including 31 March 2008 and can deduct 130% thereafter.
Here is a template (originally created by HMRC but updated by me) to help you calculate the value of your claim it has references to relevant HMRC guidance.
The claim is made on your corporation tax return (CT600) if you discover that you should have made a claim in a prior year its not too late, follow this link to find out how to correct prior year returns http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/ct/managing/company-tax-return/amend.htm
Case Studies and Examples
Here are some excellent examples http://www.bis.gov.uk/files/file36112.pdf
It is possible to claim for software http://www.bis.gov.uk/files/file34845.pdf
Software could be tool to enable the R&D or a goal in its own right, but simply modifying existing software isn’t R&D. It has to follow the same rules as other R&D and be an advance in science and technology.
Construction companies have claimed R&D for developing new building systems and new building technologies.
R&D could be a new process rather than an invention.
It doesn’t have to have a patent but there could be advantages to having one, such as patent box tax relief.