We have entered an unprecedented situation with financial measures not seen since a wartime government, and these are a bit of a minefield.
The speed that these measures are being announced is such that the systems are not yet set up, so keeping on top of how, when and if businesses can apply for the support is challenging for us all.
However, HMRC confirmed last week that they are still processing R&D Tax Credit claims in line with usual expectations of a 28 day turnaround, and have confirmed that it is a priority area of support for business through the current crisis. We are also seeing this in practice, for example a claim was paid today which was only filed two weeks ago.
We also understand that April and May are two of the busiest months of the year for claims under normal circumstances, so it appears likely their workload will be growing in the near future.
There is even more good news on R&D claims:
- The proposed tax credit cap of three times a company’s PAYE/NIC bill has been delayed a year until April 2021. We also know now that there will be a de minimis of £20,000 for the cap, meaning smaller companies can claim up to £20,000 of tax credits per annum even if there are no payrolled staff.
- HMRC have also indicated that there may be some temporary flexibility on the two year time limit for filing a claim, signposting a more general “exceptional circumstances” Statement of Practice and suggesting that delays relating to Covid-19 may cause them to permit some late claim.
Therefore this is a good time either to look at doing your next claim, or to consider whether you have activities in the last couple of years which might qualify.
We have been approached by several of our existing R&D clients in the last fortnight wanting to start their next claims as soon as possible, much earlier than their normal timing.
Average claims for small and medium sized businesses are around £30-40,000 per annum, so if you are new to the system you could be looking at a short term cash injection of double this with a two-year claim. The spectrum of activities which qualify is so much wider than many people realise; see our previous article which best demonstrates this. So, if you are devising new or improved products, processes or services, it really is worth having a discussion to see if there might be a qualifying element.
James Geary and Gina Gardner are fully geared up to support you remotely during the COVID-19 crisis, and can speak to you about whether you qualify and how to expedite claims. Please either email James on email@example.com, Gina on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01242 776000 to arrange a call back. We will be pleased to answer any questions you may have.