Tax & admin 10 October 2018

Why all the confusion with R&D tax credits? 3 entrepreneurs make things clear

R&D tax credits
The best advice for SMEs looking to claim R&D tax relief is to speak to a qualified R&D tax credit expert

Chris Unwin, founder of conveyor and automation system manufacturer L.A.C Conveyor Systems, consults three entrepreneurs to find out the value of R&D tax credits for growing businesses.

We’re all aware of the importance and benefits of research and development (R&D) – it enables us to grow our businesses, to stand out from our competitors and to meet the ever-changing needs of the consumer.

This got us thinking – there must be so many other companies out there, keen to get some help with research and development but unaware of where to go and confused by the government initiative.

Eager to promote the benefits of the relief, we’ve spoken to businesses up and down the country that have been successful with their claims in the past, plus R&D expert, Jamie Smith.

Alastair Williamson, CEO at RanPlan Wireless

In the attempt to improve wireless communications, RanPlan was founded in 2006 which conducted research in and around dense urban areas. In 2012, Ranplan started the development of a suite of wireless radio frequency network planning, simulation and optimisation tools, and launched its first product in 2015.

CEO, Alastair Williamson stated, “I think the confusion lies around what small companies can claim for as they need to meet certain qualifying conditions, but the process is quite straightforward and is part of the tax return.”

The result of claiming R&D tax relief? Successfully claiming tax relief for six years has led to a total claim of over £1m and encourages RanPlan to hire further developers. Williamson says “this enables us to carry on research into wireless communications, leading to the advancement of the world’s only tool capable of planning and designing networks for dense urban environments in coordination.”

Most read this week:

Aasis Vinayak, Founder and CEO of Fly My Cloud Ltd

Fly My Cloud, founded in 2015, is a technology company based in London. They believe that all businesses should be able to harness the power and scale of the cloud.

One of their services focuses on supporting businesses to migrate their applications and data to the cloud by automating the deployment, scaling and backup aspects of the process. They also provide consultancy in relation to big data and artificial intelligence for businesses large and small, helping them to ‘future-proof’ their businesses.

Founder and CEO, Aasis Vinayak said: “I found out about R&D tax relief from one of my clients, which prompted me to do my own research. R&D tax relief has helped us to plan our growth strategy more effectively and prepare for the future, enabling us to take calculated risks in our investment plans.”

Vinayak also adds that SMEs should definitely take advantage of such government schemes to fully “invest in meaningful and sustainable innovations.”

Jamie Smith, co-founder of DSMRandDTaxCredits

Founded in 2017, by Jamie Smith, Darren Moynan, and Paul Donohoe, DSMRandDTaxCredits help clients with the R&D tax credits process and have done for over 15 years through their own accountancy practice and with the previous employer.

Jamie explains how the scheme is massively underused with many accountants not offering a service to take advantage of the R&D scheme. As a result, he has offered his expertise upon claiming R&D tax relief.

What advice would you give to SMEs looking to innovate claim R&D tax relief?

If your business is considering applying for R&D tax relief, the first thing to do is ensure that  you meet the basic criteria:

  • A limited company registered in the UK and a going concern
  • Paying UK corporation tax
  • Independent company – not a subcontractor or subsection of a bigger company

If you tick all of these boxes, then the best advice for SMEs looking to claim R&D tax relief is to speak to a properly qualified R&D tax credit expert. You need to marry specialist knowledge of the R&D tax relief scheme with your business specifics. You don’t need to ditch your accountant; most R&D tax relief specialists only focus on R&D claims and will work alongside them.

Do not dismiss your business’s potential eligibility until you have discussed it with an expert. It’s a matter of looking at your business through the prism of R&D regulations, which is notoriously difficult to do when you are in it.

All innovative research and development need money. Applying for R&D tax relief should be a top priority to secure future investment. You are investing in innovation, you are entitled to the money, don’t waste the opportunity.

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.