Yes, you can claim R&D tax credits every year so long as you have undertaken R&D activities within that year’s accounting period.
Claiming for a multi-year R&D project
The R&D activities should relate to a single R&D project or set of R&D projects. An R&D project can span over multiple years, and you can make multiple years’ claims for the same project if the activity each year is different, and different costs are being claimed for.
You’ll need to clearly identify that the project is a continuation from a prior year’s accounting period otherwise this be queried by HMRC when they look at your previous years’ claims. Additionally, if your project is the same across multiple years’ you’ll need to clearly distinguish how the activity has differed in each year. A summary of the different stages of the project beyond this current year’s claim will be a useful addition to your report.
Making an R&D claim for more than one year
While you can claim for a project that has spanned multiple years, you can also claim for 2 prior years’ accounting periods if you haven’t yet made a claim for them before. And because R&D relief is a retrospective tax incentive, that effectively means that you are able to claim on costs that occurred up to 3 years prior to your claim. For more information on making claims for financial years preceding the most recently closed accounts, head to our guide on the matter.
Before April 2012, HMRC required that the qualifying expenditure for a claim exceeded £10,000, however that limitation is no longer in place. As a result, if you have spent anything on R&D in the past year then we recommend making a claim – either by self-filing using the government’s guidance, or requesting help from your accountant. We would also recommend reading our Introduction to R&D Tax Credits as a means of understanding the scheme in more depth
If your R&D expenditure exceeds £50,000 then we recommend speaking with one of our team to help make your claim.