HMRC has announced today a pilot scheme to assist small companies in making their first Research and Development (R&D) tax credit claim.
Small companies for these purposes are companies with fewer than 50 employees – so still fairly sizeable in actual fact.
The idea is that participants will be allocated an R&D tax contact from HMRC who will assist the company in putting together a claim and agree a basis for the next two years’ claims provided that they follow the same basis.
This is great news for small companies or startups who would like advance assurance before commencing work in compiling and filing an R&D claim, however, we’ll have to see how this works in practice. For example, in terms of
- is there sufficient HMRC resource to commit to individual company claims (they are already stretched); and
- I hate to be cynical but there has to be a question mark over HMRC’s incentive to help companies maximise claims or explore angles or more obscure claims that might not be immediately apparent.
The sorts of issues and technical matters that you would hope your accountant or tax advisor is already doing for you.