Typically, the first question that anyone has when they are considering making an R&D claim will be ‘How much could I receive as a relief?’ or ‘Is it worth it?’. So before we get too involved in claim preparation it’s important to take a bit of time to understand the business, both technically and financially. This helps to establish the scale of the opportunity and informs any decision on whether there is advantage in preparing and submitting a claim. Often this needs little more than a short meeting or a telephone call. We feel that this is an important filtering stage to ensure that we are able to give a realistic view of what, if any, potential benefit could be realised.
Having established that there is a realistic opportunity to submit a claim the next step is to do some data gathering. We see this as a collaboration between the claiming company and the adviser. We also recognise that you have a business to run and, therefore, we aim to minimise the extent to which we divert your key personnel from their core roles.
We recognise that businesses often have differing systems and approaches to data collection. Part of our approach is to take the time to understand these and to facilitate the use of as much existing data as we can. As a result, this ensures that our approach to gathering the data we need will be tailored to suit your specific situation.
Understandably this is the part of the process that will require the most support from your technical personnel. Our approach has been developed to screen projects early in the process to ensure that we are able to focus on the most promising prospects. Experience has taught us that often the most effective way to explore project eligibility is through a series of targeted questions. This allows us to influence people’s perception of a project and can often help to broaden the underlying understanding of R&D within your business.
As with other aspects of the data gathering we endeavour to be flexible and work with you to find the most practical approach to completing the review without being unduly time consuming from your perspective. Approaches that we have used successfully include workshops, conference calls, one to one meetings or questionnaires.
Once we have completed our review we then document how the claim was prepared and the overall level of eligibility that has been identified. We will also provide supporting information to sit alongside your application for an R&D Tax Credit. Typically, this might include a report for submission to HMRC and the supporting background information, such as the data gathering and supporting calculations. You would then file the claim, either as part of your annual tax return or as an amendment.