Research & Development Relief

The official definition set out in the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Guideline s that R&D takes place for tax purposes when a project seeks to achieve an advance in science or technology through the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainty.

This definition means that, as well as scientific research, R&D can also include development work and design and engineering that involves overcoming difficult technological problems – for example, creating new products or processes or improving existing ones.  In addition, the following may also qualify as R&D:

  • Attempts to replicate a particular advance in science or technology which has already been made or attempted but where the details are not readily available (for example because it is a trade secret) – but not routine copying, analysis or adaptation of an existing product, process, service or material.
  • Work which takes place alongside production which seeks to improve, optimise or otherwise resolve uncertainties.
  • Unsuccessful projects – R&D can still take place where the advance in science or technology sought by a project is not achieved or fully realised – indeed, that demonstrates the existence of uncertainty.

There is no minimum or maximum level for an R&D claim (save for an overall cap of €7.5m on total state aid received per project under the SME scheme).  Provided all of the qualifying conditions are met, and that the company incurs qualifying expenditure, then relief can be claimed.

For further information please download our e-brochure. Or to arrange a free introductory meeting, please contact us on +44 20 7129 1432

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