Fraud countermeasure drives R&D tax relief changes

The level of fraudulent claims being made for research and development (R&D) tax relief has prompted HMRC to introduce a new procedure: companies must provide detailed information ahead of making their claim.

HMRC figures show that nearly 20% of claims for R&D tax relief are fraudulent, so it is no surprise they are tightening up on the claim process. Non-compliance is a particular problem when it comes to small value claims, with nearly 80% of claims for less than £10,000 being suspect.

The new requirement will mean having to submit an additional information form to HMRC to support a claim for R&D tax relief or for expenditure credit.

This new form is a separate requirement to the claim notification form a company must submit to HMRC in advance of a claim for R&D tax relief. Notification applies for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 April 2023.

Submitting the new form

The additional information form must be sent to HMRC before the company’s corporation tax return is filed. If the tax return is filed without the additional information being provided, HMRC will simply remove the claim for R&D tax relief from the company’s tax return.

  • HMRC has set up an online portal for submitting the additional information form.
  • The new process will allow HMRC quickly to assess the validity of a claim, especially the level of expertise of those involved in preparing the claim.
  • The form requires detailed information on the R&D project, including a breakdown of the costs involved. For SMEs with just one to three projects, a full description of each project is required.

HMRC now require a considerable amount of additional information to be submitted, and this will be a challenge for SMEs. Companies should therefore start preparing for their R&D tax relief claims as far in advance as possible to avoid any last minute surprises.

HMRC guidance about the new requirements can be found here.

Photo by Growtika on Unsplash

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