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Research and Development (R&D) tax credits

Source: HM Revenue & Customs | 22/01/2015

Research and Development (R&D) tax credits were introduced for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in 2000 and for large companies in 2002. R&D credits are a Corporation Tax relief that were introduced to encourage innovation and enterprise within the UK economy. Small and Medium-sized Enterprises can claim R&D tax credits of 225% for expenditure incurred on or after 1 April 2012. This will increase to 230% from April 2015. There are different rules for large companies.

HMRC has published a new consultation that seeks views on improving the accessibility of R&D tax credits for small companies. At present some 15,000 businesses across the spectrum claim over £1.4 billion in credits each year. This consultation is intended to follow-up on introducing a package of measures to ensure that all companies (and specifically smaller companies) can properly access this relief. The consultation focuses on four main areas that drive claims to the relief namely:

  • An awareness of the tax credits;
  • The design of the rules;
  • An understanding of the rules;
  • The claims administration process.
There will also be other improvements including from autumn 2015, the introduction of an advanced assurance service for small companies making their first claim. HMRC is also in the process of overhauling the R&D tax credits guidance to make it more accessible for small companies.