What is Advance Assurance?
An initiative from HMRC intended to simplify the R&D tax credit scheme for SMEs. If granted, you will receive guarantee that any R&D tax credit claim you submit within the first three accounting periods will be accepted!
Unfortunately many small businesses are unaware of the Advance Assurance initiative and only start the process of making an R&D tax credits claim once the first tax return is due. Holding off until then could mean that you rush the R&D claim submission, making mistakes, and missing out on the funding you need to accelerate business growth in the early stages. You can start submitting successful R&D claims with confidence that they are correct from day one, without spending too much time and money, by using the Advance Assurance template. This template can then also be used when applying for alternative sources of funding in future.
How to determine if you’re eligible
If you’re an SME, planning to do R&D (or have already done so) and haven’t submitted an R&D tax credits claim before, you can apply for Advance Assurance. If your business is part of a group, be sure that none of the linked companies has made a claim previously, as this will disqualify you.
How to apply
If your company qualifies for Advance Assurance, you can apply on the gov.uk website. However, as you’re new to the scheme you should be aware of the common mistakes many businesses make, which could lead your application to be rejected. Unfortunately, due to the diverse nature of eligible businesses, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach, so it’s best to seek advice from an experienced adviser to be sure your application is granted.
How we can help
We’ve supported SMEs with their Advance Assurance application by getting to know their business and identifying how what they do applies to the HMRC guidelines. We then navigate applicants through each stage of the process ensuring they are confident and clear in their claims. This includes:
- Educating the business on the R&D tax credit rules and helping them to identify which of their projects are eligible.
- Sharing our knowledge of what expressions and writing styles are known to trigger concern with HMRC, to ensure the business avoids these in their claims.
- Speaking with an inspector can be intimidating, so we provide a dummy call to prepare the business for their phone call with HMRC (part of the application process), probing the business with questions we’ve developed from our 15 years’ experience of R&D claim submissions.
Our tailored approach ensures that we provide you with the support you need and won’t charge for any extras that may not be relevant to you. If you are a member of an accelerator or trade body, we can offer a roundtable training service to minimise the initial outlay.