Finance · 7 December 2015

Jumpstart doubts benefits of Advanced Assurance for small businesses

The government’s Advance Assurance process stands to disappoint small businesses, says Jumpstart
Research and development (R&D) tax experts Jumpstart have warned that the government’s new Advanced Assurance process, which encourages small businesses to claim for research and development tax relief, is certain to disappoint.

In a statement, Jumpstart director Richard Edwards questioned whether the scheme would actually make applying for R&D grants any easier for the UK’s SMEs. While we welcome any attempts to make the R&D tax credit application process easier, the details required from SMEs under Advanced Assurance remain potentially complex and time-costly.

The new process, outlined by the chancellor George Osborne in the 2015 Autumn Statement, requires businesses applying for grants to submit long and detailed applications, including the proposed R&D activity the firm plans to take and the specific scientific or technological advance intended.

Furthermore, applicants must submit details of any scientific or technological uncertainty about their proposed research, details about how they would go about dealing with that uncertainty, a complete break down of the costs involved in the R&D and reasons why the knowledge being sought isn’t already available to the applicant.

it is certainly not the light-touch route that many in the sector expected, Edwards said. These are not unreasonable questions, but companies often need help understanding them, applying them to their business and drafting a comprehensive response.



Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.