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Fly me to the moon - How Tesla gained their competitive advantage through R&D

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Tom Verner

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Fly me to the moon - How Tesla gained their competitive advantage through R&D

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In 2018 Elon Musk’s Tesla car company invested around $1.5billion in research and development (R&D), dwarfing the spends of other automotive manufacturers as they sought to out-innovate the competition.

Has it been money well spent? Well, today Tesla is the biggest electric vehicle (EV) company on the planet, and as governments around the world move towards outright bans on petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles, the sales of EVs are about to really hit the fast lane.

Earlier this year the car giant opened its first service centre in Northern Ireland at Belfast’s Boucher Road. However, if you bring your Tesla in for repair it’s unlikely that the technician working on your vehicle will also be working on one of Musk’s SpaceX rockets. You see, they have experts for that.

And, as much as I like to believe I could slot in and solve Liverpool FC’s problems at centre back after the injury to Virgil Van Dijk, Jurgen Klopp will take the sensible option and bring in a professional instead, someone who has worked their whole life to get to the top of their game.

When it comes to businesses maximising the financial returns for research and development work in the form of tax credits, then engaging the services of an R&D Tax Credit professional is the smart choice.

New statistics published by HMRC in September reveal that a total of £105million was paid out to Northern Ireland businesses in R&D Tax Credits, up from £75million (+40%) on the previous year.

The level of claims across Northern Ireland remains stubbornly low compared to other regions of the UK. The latest statistics show there were just 1,615 claims in the latest period.

Considering the low level of claims, it makes me wonder if businesses are receiving the right information about R&D Tax Credits and just how valuable they can be to a company.

Quite often they are considered a general tax issue and left to the accountancy department to deal with. But, in reality this is an area where investment in tax credit specialists can pay dividends for your company. In fact, it’s one reason why we work in partnership with accountants across the UK; they know the best results for their client will come from working with the experts.

Unfortunately, there are a growing number of fly-by-night operators claiming to be ‘experts’. You may already have received a cold call from one assuring you that you meet the criteria for a successful claim. I’d love to know how they can claim this without knowing about your company’s projects!

They are often easy enough to spot with some simple checks online or at Companies House, but it is worth knowing they can create some very real problems for your company.

You need to be aware it is you who will be liable for a fraudulent claim to HMRC and not the tax credit ‘specialist’ who submitted the paperwork on your behalf. An honest mistake on a claim will usually be overlooked by HMRC but a fraudulent one can see you face financial penalties up to the full amount that the government has lost.

At the Momentum Group we stand behind the quality of our work and having successfully claimed over £125million for our clients we have the testimonies to back up our claims.

We have the expertise of drilling down into a company’s operations and identifying work and practises which qualify for R&D Tax Credit support. In addition, we have years of experience of compiling successful claims and working with HMRC.

Cheap is not always cheerful and when it comes to making claims, equally using the ‘in-house’ resources may see your company miss out on tens of thousands of pounds.

With the average successful claim in Northern Ireland worth £65,015, we provide a service which can really boost your cashflow during these challenging times.

We partner with your business, bringing our expertise to the table, to not only thoroughly examine a company’s R&D activity but also to get under the skin of your company and really understand it, which helps us identify qualifying work and pinpoint areas for future development. This adds value for our clients.

The Momentum Group is here to help and as businesses battle on two fronts against the ongoing pandemic and the threat of a no-trade deal Brexit we have launched our ‘Rebound’ support service. The service assists businesses by maximising their uptake of all available grants and R&D tax benefits offered by the UK government.

We are all in this together and at Momentum we have been offering, and will continue to offer, free claims advice to companies during these pressured times.

My Anfield dream may not come true, but at Momentum, we have the right team to help your business.

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