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Claiming R&D Tax Credits: Is it as hard as you think?

Claiming R&D Tax Credits: Is it as hard as you think?

Recently it’s been a very testing period for everyone, both in the home sphere and in business. Uncertain workloads and reduced cashflow have put every business under pressure. It will be welcome news that there are opportunities for companies to claim back funds already spent, and for two previous tax years from now.

Companies all over the UK could well be missing out on the chance to claim back thousands of pounds in research and development (R&D) tax credits. This is often because they’re either unaware of their eligibility or they simply feel they don’t have the time or expertise to make the claim. But is the process really that difficult?

“Very often, companies are convinced that claiming for R&D tax credits would take too much of their time,” explains Simon Shuker, Director of Hafren Ousque Associates and Consultant with RandD Tax Limited. “Whether that’s their own time as the Founder or Director of the business, or their staff time”.

“There seems to be an impression that the time it takes to extract the information required to build a claim will cost more than the claim is worth. All of that is incorrect. The resources required to put forward a claim aren’t daunting, especially when guided by the right advisors.”

Identifying what you can claim

Knowing whether your company is eligible to claim R&D tax credits is just the first step, actually identifying everything you can claim for is something else entirely.

I always go above and beyond to ensure that my clients can build the areas of claim they are entitled to under the HMRC guidance. Usually, they don’t realise they’re investing in R&D, and need to be shown where the R&D actually is. Once I start demonstrating the areas they can claim, and what HMRC recognises as R&D, generally they will see other areas for themselves. They will often say: ‘Yes, we did that, and we did this also! And because of that, we looked at other areas as well!’

Simon Shuker

The importance of a competent and ethical R&D advisor

Although businesses can make claims themselves, or with their accountants, without prior knowledge of the process or an understanding of what can and can’t be claimed, they may end up claiming a fraction of what they may be entitled to. Even then, there are pitfalls in the process that may hinder the likelihood of a claim being accepted.

As well as helping to identify the areas of R&D that can be claimed, by working with an advisor, companies will also have a faster understanding of whether a claim is worth the time and effort. What’s more, a competent and effective R&D tax advisor will increase the likelihood of making a successful claim by ensuring that all information is collected efficiently and then presented in the correct manner for HMRC.

Simon is always happy to offer free consultations, either online or face to face, for businesses to determine whether or not they’re eligible to claim for R&D tax credits, and whether the claim would is worth the effort of building it. To arrange your consultation, call 07833 207643 or email

Having trained as a journalist with the UK's national news agency, the Press Association (now known as PA Media), Thomas is an accomplished writer with his work published in several business, entertainment and special interest magazines.