What does your business do, that HMRC would define as R and D?
Using their own words, HMRC consider that the aim of an R and D project will be, “the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainty”. Now this doesn’t just apply to experiments done in secret laboratories, probably involving test-tubes and Bunsen burners. It involves any company that invests in solving a problem with technological development. Official ‘project’ protocols will be followed, expert staff possibly drafted in and the outcome is definitely not certain.
Your business could easily be working on R and D projects right now – but they aren’t necessarily in your R and D Department and you may not realise that they fall into HMRC’s definition of R and D.
Has your business:
- Invested in improving production efficiency?
- Used technology to create new services, tools or other products?
- Collectively pondered…’I’m not sure how to resolve this’?
- Faced and overcome, or lost the fight with, any ‘technical’ issues?
- Spent money on making products better by tweaking the tech?
- Tried out different manufacturing methods, tools or appliances?
The aim of your project is of paramount importance, it must state the scientific or technological ‘advancement’ with absolute clarity. The answer must be an uncertainty that cannot be answered by a ‘competent professional’. In other words, if an expert in the field could find out the answer easily elsewhere, then this would not be counted.
It is more than likely that other businesses in your sector will be tackling the same problems. You may even know that a competitor has solved the problem! But this doesn’t make any difference to your R and D Tax Credit eligibility, unless they have published their resolution in enough detail that others could replicate their find.