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Peace of mind: Get your R&D Tax Relief claim reviewed for free by an ex-HMRC inspector

You may have submitted previous claims that you have questions about or be in the process of submitting a claim with the help of an R&D Tax Relief boutique or other provider.

For extra peace of mind, we are happy to offer a free, no-obligation review of your claims, to highlight any areas of concern, and prevent a possible amendment or penalty from HMRC at a later date.

Request your R&D tax relief claim review today


This free review of your R&D tax relief claim will be performed by Darryl Hoy, Technical Director of the Shorts Radius R&D team, who is a former HMRC R&D tax inspector, and has a wealth of experience in identifying errors or other problems in R&D tax relief claims.

How is HMRC taking action?

HMRC has started cracking down heavily on historic and current error-strewn R&D Tax Relief claims.

Specialist R&D tax relief teams at HMRC have already been bolstered with an extra 100 inspectors. They have introduced a number of new strategies and tools to them to help tackle perceived fraud and abuse, particularly with the SME scheme.

HMRC has enlisted the help of its Fraud Investigation Service Team, who have been issuing letters to companies they believe have fraudulently made R&D Tax Relief claims and are setting up a specialist Anti-Abuse team to tackle the perceived error and fraud within the SME scheme.

This is already resulting in an increase in the number of enquiries issued by HMRC. There are also significant changes coming in 2023 to the rules of the R&D Tax Relief scheme.

This means it is more important than ever to make sure your own R&D Tax Relief claims, future, current and historical, are done properly.


Potential problems with your R&D Tax Relief claim

R&D tax relief claims can be very complicated, depending on the nature of the project on which you are claiming. The following are a handful of areas where issues commonly occur, which HMRC are going to be looking out for when claims are submitted.

  • Claiming for projects that do not meet the BEIS definition of R&D that HMRC base their guidance on.
  • Any R&D claim being submitted without an R&D Report or a proper breakdown of qualifying expenditure
  • Inadequate explanation of how the project sought an advance or appreciable improvement in science or technology.
  • Directors using their own “connected” company to perform sub-contracted R&D.
  • Claiming excessive numbers of staff are conducting R&D without sufficient evidence.
  • Poor or inadequate methodology in calculating the qualifying R&D costs in the project.
  • Claims being made for overheads which do not qualify as consumables.
  • Companies claiming under the SME scheme when they do not qualify.
  • Special rules for sub-contracted expenditure not being applied.

As you can see, there is enormous scope for errors in an R&D tax relief claim. If you have any concerns about the quality, detail or legitimacy of a current or historical R&D claim, get in touch and our experts will review it for free.

Penalties for R&D Tax Relief claim errors

It is extremely important to remember that responsibility for the claim sits with the company that submits the claim, not their accountant or the R&D Tax Relief adviser who made the claim on their behalf.

If HMRC finds errors in an R&D claim, they will attempt to recover any and all underpaid tax. In addition to this, they may issue penalties of up to 70% of the underpaid tax, plus interest. More serious instances, where they suspect errors were deliberate, may be referred to the Criminal Investigation team at HMRC.


Scott Burkinshaw

Scott is Tax Partner at Shorts, specialising in providing strategic corporate and personal tax advice.

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