Have you been approached about R&D?
Don’t panic I am not proposing that ‘rhythm’ should drop the ‘blues’ and replace it with ‘drums’! What I am referring to is research and development tax reliefs that can be claimed by companies that work on innovative projects in their field. Well, there we have it. This was a short blog. I am a lawyer, not an accountant and the intricacies of the R&D tax relief are best left to the numbers people so I will leave you here.
Of course, I am joking. As you are probably were all just saying as you threw your hands in the air ‘but surely you have something to add to this conversation even if you are not an accountant’ and fear not I do. I may not be a numbers man but what I am is a details one and I can spot problems that can arise in contracts long before they have arisen which is what brings me to R&D claims.
There are companies out there that offer the service of helping you make an R&D claim which I incredibly helpful, I mean, who doesn’t want to save on tax. Now I am not saying that some of these firms aren’t reputable but I have, for a few clients, had to review their terms and conditions in detail and there are a few points that I have raised with my clients that have made them think again:
- If the company employed believes that there is a potential claim for R&D relief then they can, at their own discretion, make the claim on your behalf;
- If t is rejected by the HMRC then the contract ends.
I am not saying that all of the contracts include the above clauses but the ones I looked at did and my concern with these are that even if the claim is frivolous the company assisting you with the claim could submit a claim to the HMRC. Or perhaps the tax saving would be nominal, that doesn’t matter the company assisting still has the overall say in whether a claim is submitted. Furthermore, if a claim is unsuccessful and the HMRC want to undertake a review of your accounts now that you have kindly flagged to them that you are happy making unlikely claims for tax relief, the company assisting you has no obligation to help you and no liability in respect of any issue that may arise from this.
Now I am not saying that the people that are working at the HMRC aren’t nice people but, like all of us, they are not big fans of having their time wasted and if you allow someone else to have power over a claim for tax relief that you may be able to make you have to be prepared to deal with the accounts inspection by the HMRC that may follow.