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Are you getting the right R&D Tax Credits advice?

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Nico Fell

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Are you getting the right R&D Tax Credits advice?

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How many times have you received a cold call from someone offering you R&D Tax Credits advice? At present, the United Kingdom seems to be awash with R&D Tax Credit advisers, each trying to undercut the other. This begs the question, why? In simple terms, our industry has had little or no regulation and many of the less scrupulous companies are seeking to tie you in to long and expensive contracts or prepare claims based on minimal information for a minimal fee. If it sounds too good to be true, it generally is. If they are cutting fees, are they also cutting corners?

R&D Tax Credit claims are bound by strict and complex legislation. The incentive for companies actively embarking on qualifying R&D activities can be very rewarding and on occasions, provide a valuable lifeline in a turbulent and uncertain world. However, the risks of getting it wrong could result in HMRC investigations into this, and other aspects of your business. The penalties can be significant and on occasions, companies have failed due to inadequate and inappropriate agent advice. Getting it wrong can lead to your company’s tax records being reviewed for the previous six years (and more) if deliberately misleading project information and costs are identified.

The good news is that from the 1st June 2020 new topical guidance was published by Professional Conduct in Relation to Taxation (PCRT) bodies. In simple terms, any person or agent involved in any aspect of the preparation of an R&D claim is deemed to be ‘practicing tax’ and must meet the fundamental principles relating to integrity, objectivity, competence, confidentiality and professional standards. A recent First Tier Tribunal (FTT) case resulted in a claim submitted on behalf of London-based AHK Recruitment being rejected because the adviser could not substantiate the criteria on which the claim was made. Not only has this company missed out on a potentially substantial Corporation Tax relief claim but may also have risked future claims.

Choosing the right R&D Tax Credit adviser is never going to be an easy task but is one that should be given adequate consideration. You will be giving the agent access to potentially sensitive R&D project work, allowing access to accounts, and relying on tax planning within complex tax legislation. Prior to the professional guidelines being implemented, we at Momentum were already working to a set of standards and principles that ensured we were compliant and acted professionally in all our dealings with clients and HMRC. Many of our team are already members of professional bodies, ensuring the highest possible standards and adherence to all relevant legislation.

At Momentum, we have built up a team of dedicated R&D specialists who will provide a clear roadmap of the process from the initial contact through to the successful claim outcome. More importantly, we stand over our work and in the unlikely event that HMRC seek further clarification, we continue to provide our expert services until the conclusion. At Momentum, we seek to build a client relationship that will grow as your business prospers. Our core strength is our ability to work closely with you and your accountant throughout the whole claim process.

Our advice is, take your time and choose your agent wisely (but don’t take too much time as there is a time limit for the submission of claims!).

Get in touch with the Momentum team and let us guide you through it all.

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