Top 30 advisory firm, Bishop Fleming, said companies in the Westcountry and in the Midlands Engine are continuing to miss out on millions of pounds of research and development (R&D) tax credits.

The R&D tax specialist, with 7 offices spanning from the West Midlands to the South West, also delivers accounting, tax, corporate, restructuring and advisory services to businesses and private wealth advice to individuals.

The firm says that even though there has been a 20 per cent increase in companies claiming R&D tax credits across the UK, only 8 per cent of total UK claims were made by companies in the Westcountry and the West Midlands respectively.

Andrew Browne, Head of Tax at Bishop Fleming, said: “The latest R&D statistics from the government bring into clear focus the opportunities available to companies to save tax and receive tax credits.”

Mr Browne added: “Of the 26,255 claims made in 2015-16 across the country, totalling £2.9bn in tax breaks, only 2,040 claims were made by Westcountry companies, reaping the benefits of only £130m.”

Chris Walklett, Tax Partner at Bishop Fleming’s Worcester office, remarked that only 2,165 claims were made by West Midlands companies, reaping the benefits of £230m.

Mr. Walklett added: “There is so much potential for innovative companies to be rewarded for their hard work. Many companies simply don’t think they are eligible to claim, but that is a stubborn myth; the tax benefits are potentially there for all that are developing and improving their products, services or processes.”

The government has sought to make the R&D scheme more attractive through increases in the rates of relief, as well as the scrapping of a £10,000 deminimis limit on R&D expenditure before a claim could be made.

Bishop Fleming secured over £66m in R&D tax credits for businesses in the past year, having secured over £200m in R&D relief over the past six years.

Mr Browne said: “R&D applies to a wide range of businesses, not just those who wear white coats in labs. It has taken over 17 years for companies to recognise the potential to save £millions in tax from R&D tax credits, and we are helping hundreds of companies to grab that opportunity.”

NOTE: Autumn 2017 Budget

The November 2017 Budget increased the rate of the R&D expenditure credit (RDEC) for large companies from 11% to 12% with effect from 1 January 2018. The government is also introducing a new Advanced Clearance Service for RDEC claims.

ACTION POINT: 31st January 2018 deadline

HMRC is now allowing reimbursed expenses to be included as part of qualifying staff costs for an R&D tax claim.

Companies can make amendments to previously submitted R&D tax claims to include reimbursed expenses for accounting periods ended after 9 October 2012, provided the original R&D tax claim was made after 9 October 2014. Where an amendment is outside of the usual adjustment window, the amendment must be made by 31 January 2018.

Reimbursed expenses include those an employee personally incurred which were then reimbursed by the company. It does not include expenses paid on a company credit card, nor the cost of training or purchasing an item on behalf of the business.

In weighing up if it’s worth making a claim, consideration should also be given to the likely professional costs of doing so. We will be happy to discuss this with you.

Contact a member of our Research & Development team for further information about R&D tax claims.


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