R&D tax credits and architects

A large number of architects that can definitely claim for R&D tax credits remain reluctant to do so. Why is this?
It seems that many aren’t sure whether their work would qualify while others seem concerned about the amount of perceived work needed to craft a claim.
Last year the RIBA took steps to alert the profession to the benefits of R&D claims, publishing a lengthy guide entirely about R&D illustrating how suitable the tax credit is for architects given that architecture thrives on innovation. It was a clear call to action from the industry body and unsurprising as the profession is potentially missing out on large amounts of relief. Relief which could be used to maintain and further architectural innovation in the UK.

We’re skilled at recognising R&D tax opportunities and, to date, we have successfully processed claims for 100% of the opportunities we have identified as being suitable. Over the years we’ve heard a number of common concerns about the process that we share and debunk below.
The work we do wouldn’t qualify
R&D relief is available for any project that seeks to achieve an advance in science or technology or aims to resolve scientific or technological uncertainty, regardless of the industry you work in. 
The projects could be activities aimed at obtaining or applying new knowledge. Otherwise, it could be the search for alternative or improvement of existing designs, methods or products that already exist in the market. 
These projects can have tangible or intangible results and the claim can be made even if the project was not ultimately successful. 
It’s a complicated process, I don’t know where to start and I haven’t got the time
The process is as simple as an initial phone call to have a general chat about the projects you would like to claim on. If your advisor feels you have grounds for a claim, this will be followed up by a face to face meeting to talk about the technical aspects of the claim and its associated costs.
Your advisor will then go away and write the report required to make a claim. Once submitted, the claim is typically processed by HMRC within 4 weeks.
Work we’ve done that might qualify was completed ages ago – so we’ve probably missed the boat
The deadline for a claim is 2 years after the end of the accounting period in which the project was carried out. Therefore, potentially any project undertaken in up to the last 3 years may still be eligible for claim.
If you’re still not sure whether R&D tax credits are for you, our team are happy to have a quick conversation to discuss your individual circumstances and whether pursuing a claim is the right course of action for you. 

Get in touch to find out whether you could successfully claim

Simon Wax, Partner
E waxs@buzzacott.co.uk
T 020 7556 1231

Alternatively, if you’d rather do a little more reading first our interactive pdf on R&D breaks it down into even smaller chunks.
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