Eligibility for R&D tax relief

While the term ‘research and development’ might sound rather limited – conjuring up images of scientists in white coats tinkering with Bunsen burners – HMRC’s definition is actually very broad and inclusive - as long as you understand their guidelines, which can be tricky!  


Limited companies from pretty much any sector can claim for R&D tax relief as long as they are doing at least one project that satisfies the conditions of eligibility.  The very first condition is that there must be some kind of technological uncertainty, the resolution of which will lead to an advance in the field as a whole (not just for an individual company!).  There should be no easy way to resolve the uncertainty (asking colleagues at trade fairs or Googling don’t count as R&D!) even by a “competent professional” (in other words an engineer should be solving an engineering problem…a biologist might be a professional but they don’t generally have a lot of engineering experience!).  However, identifying a technological uncertainty is just the tip of the iceberg!  You then need to contend with the ins an outs of trial and error and process improvement (sometimes these count as eligible R&D and sometimes not….) not to mention unravelling the complexities surrounding failed research (it can still be eligible) and trade secrets (just because a competitor has done it before doesn’t mean it can’t be eligible again if the methods were protected).  Eligibility can be a difficult thing to get to grips with without expert help. 


With so many variables it’s easy to see why a lot of companies are put off claiming the R&D tax relief they are entitled to. In fact, many of the companies working with Jumpstart were convinced they were ineligible until their first meeting. Understanding the conditions and identifying a company’s eligibility is the first hurdle to making a successful R&D tax relief claim that could result in a large cash payment from HMRC. 


Don’t let the complicated guidelines from HMRC put you off. Do Different has partnered with industry specialists Jumpstart, who provide R&D tax relief assistance for UK businesses. Jumpstart has a proven track record in making successful R&D tax relief claims. They know what to claim, how to claim and, perhaps most importantly of all, the many pitfalls to avoid.


If you think you may be eligible, Do Different can put you in touch with an expert member of the Jumpstart team, safe in the knowledge that if you don't ultimately qualify for R&D tax relief you won't owe anyone a penny