The first and most important stage in preparing a successful claim is identifying those projects that qualify, as if you don’t get this right then you wont be able to claim the right amount of qualifying expenditure, it is as simple as that.

In our last blog we covered difficult or failed projects - just one of a number of areas often overlooked.

Many advisors expect their clients to do the technical part of the claims process even though they have little or no knowledge or understanding of the rule book. Not surprisingly many of the less obvious qualifying R&D work gets missed and claims are less than they should be.

The identification of R&D for claims is based on the definition set out in the BIS R&D Guidelines issued by Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

This complicated rule base, sets out the basic concepts and the boundaries, gives examples, and defines R&D for tax purposes. But the words do not necessarily fit neatly to an actual R&D project in a business context- so they must be interpreted in the light of the facts on the ground.

This is a real skill – it’s where an advisor can be very helpful, correctly identifying the qualifying R&D projects, and their limits.

As well as reviewing difficult or failed projects, another area a good advisor should consider is whether necessary adaptations to existing technology packages to make them work in your business environment have been included?

If an existing technology package requires customisation to make it work in your business, rather than mere configuration, the work may be R&D?

And they should also consider claiming the initial technological analysis necessary to be able to pitch for contracts – this is in addition to just claiming for the work carried out once the contract was won?

Often, to arrive at a commercial price to pitch for work, you may need to undertake some preliminary technological analysis or scoping which may amount to R&D.

To ensure that we don’t overlook any qualifying projects, MSC R&D’s team of technical and financial experts drive the process – we ask our clients what ‘work’ they do first and then we drill down and establish where the qualifying R&D is, leaving no stone unturned in our search.

This way we get the optimum results for our R&D Tax Credit clients.