How you can minimise delays
There are certain steps that your business can take to assist HMRC in processing claims as fast as feasible. To support its teams, HMRC requests the following:
- The company should submit a full tax return detailing the R&D claim spending, a report setting out the rationale for the R&D claim, a set of accounts, and the company's BACs number.
- This information should be submitted to HMRC via their internet portal, rather than giving paper copies, that must be reconciled to earlier submissions.
The key step you can take is to ensure your claim is correct and follows the legislation to the letter. You need to ensure that your processes and checks employed in preparing any claim are communicated to HMRC via their written report. This will allow an inspector to have more confidence that the claim is valid and can be processed with minimal delay.
Many claims reports we see are high-level or boiler-plated, which leads to inconsistencies and confusion when compared with the costs included in the submission. Now is the time to revisit your report and ensure it’s clear, concise, and discloses all of the key steps taken to prepare the claim. Investing more time in your claim documentation could save you costly processing delays.
The other major issue with many R&D claims is that the company submitting the claim is unaware of how the numbers were prepared or why specific costs are being claimed. When reviewing claim we see some advisers are helpful in preparing an R&D claim but too often they share a limited version of the workings or present a final version of the claim with limited ability for review and challenge. HMRC is aware of this issue and will be implementing a company sign-off requirement next year. In the meantime, we recommend that you get up to speed with the R&D claim requirements, so you have the skills to interrogate your claims going forward.