Northern Ireland Companies Claim Back £55m In Tax Credits Says HMRC

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Yolande Hanna

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Northern Ireland Companies Claim Back £55m In Tax Credits Says HMRC

Manufacturing Engineering Feature

Article taken from Irish News Online 29.09.18

Northern Ireland companies mopped up a total of £55 million last year in R&D tax credits, the most generous corporation tax relief available in the UK.

But the north is miles behind other parts of the UK, by far the lowest claiming region, with many business owners simply unaware of the scheme and fearing, incorrectly, that they don't qualify for the potentially generous returns.

New statistics from HMRC show there has been a slight decrease in Northern Ireland companies claiming the R&D Tax Credits, which are designed to drive innovation.

It is also still significantly behind many other regions of the UK (the comparably-sized West Midlands, for instance, claimed back £295m).

The average received per R&D tax claim by companies in Northern Ireland was £46,000, and overall the accounted for just two per cent of total claims and two per cent of the total tax benefits claimed.

Bangor-based advisory firm Momentum Group, founded in 2009 to focus solely on R&A tax credits and which has worked with more than 500 companies across a range of sectors over the last decade, has analysed the latest statistics.

Its group managing director Tom Verner said: “While HMRC statistics show many companies here are wakening up to the benefits of R&D tax credits, the potential is far greater.

"In our experience, there are still so many local businesses that are either not aware of the credits, incorrectly think they do not qualify or feel they lack the necessary experience to submit a claim. In fact, many companies are not claiming their full legitimate entitlement.

“Momentum helped a record number of local companies with R&D tax credit claims in 2017. These are often highly innovative companies, who can reinvest these savings into technological innovation that bolsters their businesses, exports, employment and the local economy in the wake of Brexit.”

Mr Verner added: “For this region to be truly competitive, it is vital that companies recognise the potential of this very accessible UK government incentive. At the very least we should be on par with the rest of the UK.

"Given the potential, we find it startling that more companies aren't claiming, and we have made it our mission to highlight the incentive, particularly on occasions like today when regional results put Northern Ireland at the bottom of the R&D league table.

Momentum recently announced a partnership with Manufacturing NI becoming its exclusive R&D tax credit partner. Manufacturing represents 14 per cent of the total economic output in Northern Ireland and approximately 5,800 manufacturing businesses.

Partial figures released by HMRC show 39,960 successful R&D tax claims for 2016-17 across the UK, with over 34,000 of these secured within the SME scheme. To date, £3.5 billionn of R&D tax relief support was claimed in this latest period against £24.9 billion of innovation-related expenditure.

The new figures also show 1,185 claims secured in Northern Ireland so far for the latest 2016-17 period with 995 being made by SMEs, accounting for around £40m in tax rebates with the remainder claimed under schemes for large companies.

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