Is your company taking advantage of valuable Research & Development tax breaks for small businesses?

Richard Feakins   |   13 May 2020   |   4 min read

One of the key characteristics of a successful business is its ability to move with the times – by innovating and developing new product lines, features and improved processes. 

The Government actively encourages this ‘path to success’ with a valuable tax break –Research & Development (R&D) Tax Relief.  

Many businesses don’t take advantage of these great tax breaks because:  

  • They don’t realise it exists.
  • It sounds like it might be complicated.
  • They don’t understand how to take advantage of it.

It can mean you get tax credits or cash back, and it can make the ongoing, or even earlier development of your product line really worthwhile!  

What qualifies for R&D?

If your company is innovating and you’re staying one step ahead of the competition, the chances are you’re undertaking qualifying R&D work without realising it – whatever sector you are in, R&D tax relief doesn’t only apply to the scientific sector!

In fact, any sector could qualify for R&D relief. You’ll need, of course, to demonstrate that the project improved knowledge in your field, which could be food technology, engineering, metalwork, the IT sector or even retail. It is not overly difficult, just demonstrate a new or improved process or product has been created that improves overall knowledge in that field.

We can lead you through the process.

What’s in it for my company?

In blunt terms it means you can effectively deduct 230% of relevant costs from your profits, more than double what you paid out!  

The R&D SME regime is a tax relief scheme introduced by the Government back in 2000 to help innovative businesses, like yours, progress.  It takes all allowable expenditure incurred during the R&D project and allows you to gross it up by 130%. The typical benefits are either a reduction in tax payable or a repayment of tax already paid by the company.  

What expenditure qualifies?

The range of qualifying expenditure is quite broad and includes a range of recognisable costs, including: 

  • Materials
  • Staff costs
  • Subcontracts costs
  • Include apportionments of overheads that were relevant to the R&D project. 

With such a wide scope, the tax break is really beneficial. 

Loss-making Company?

The good news is loss-making companies also benefit under this scheme.  Although they are not paying tax, they can opt for a cash payment of 14.5% of the losses made.  This can be a valuable cash injection.  Alternatively, you can carry the loss forward to offset against company profits in the future and save tax at the main corporation tax rate (19% currently).   

Good News – it is not too late to claim!

Don’t worry if you’ve undertaken R&D in previous years and think you’re way too late to benefit – claims can be made up to two years after the end of the accounting period in which the project was undertaken.

Find out more about R&D tax breaks

If you would like to know more about how your company can access this valuable tax break, contact the Tax Team at CST Tax for a discovery chat over a coffee.

Disclaimer
This document is intended as an information source only. The comments and references to legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this document to your fact scenario. Information in this publication does not take into account any person’s personal objectives, needs or financial situations. Accordingly, you should consider the appropriateness of any information, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs and seek professional advice before acting on it. CST Tax Advisors exclude all liability (including liability for negligence) in relation to your reliance in this publication

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