At our latest breakfast roundtable for architects, there were attendees from larger practices looking for guidance on how to improve their claims and others from smaller firms who had heard of R&D tax credits but were unsure which of their projects were eligible.
As a start, I provided some background information on the innovation incentives available to architects. Those practices that were unfamiliar with the scheme wanted to know more about what was involved in the claims process so we discussed the documentation required, which accounting periods could be claimed and the benefits R&D tax credits provide. We also discussed what size a practice needs to be in order to benefit from the tax relief. This highlighted that the scheme is not just for larger firms but also identified how projects funded by a third party can be claimed under the large company scheme.
Determining what architectural projects are eligible
Attendees gained further understanding of which of their projects are eligible for R&D tax credits as we discussed the application of new materials, new construction methods and solar thermal cladding. This was put into perspective as a larger practice shared their own experience and highlighted projects that they had successfully claimed for in the past.
There was uncertainty around how to claim projects undertaken for the benefit of the practice rather than focused on one specific building and a number of questions arose around claiming Building Information Modelling (BIM). Many firms have a specialist who develops scripts and libraries to support the use of BIM technology so we discussed how the claim would need to separate routine support activities from development of tools when making the claim and how these two different activities might be claimable under the scheme.
Keeping HMRC on side
HMRC are looking to make changes that will decrease the length of documents they review in support of R&D tax credits. This will help to reduce the time it takes to create the documentation in support of a claim but is not yet confirmed so we also highlighted the current project coverage requirements. As a recommendation, we suggested that the attendees follow the HMRC online form as a basis, but work with an experienced advisor in order to include the relevant information and submit claims efficiently and successfully.
I concluded the session by sharing the secrets to positive interaction with HMRC and provided some solutions to the common challenges architects face when claiming R&D tax credits. It was a thoroughly enjoyable morning and I am looking forward to working with these architects in the future.
Interested in attending our next event?
If you would like to attend our next roundtable or if you’re an architect yourself and have any questions around R&D tax credits please get in touch.