Delays in processing R&D tax credit claims continue, with HMRC stating that standard processing times have risen from 28 days to 40 working days.

Last month, we announced that HMRC would be halting payments on several R&D claims while they investigate an increase in fraudulent claims. It was anticipated that this would slow down payments, and it has.  

Yesterday, HMRC provided an update confirming to the Chartered Institute of Taxation that their enhanced compliance checks have caused standard processing times to increase.

‘For the vast majority of claims, we will try to either pay the payable tax credit or contact you regarding the claim within 40 days,’ HMRC promised.    

Before the slowdown, you could previously anticipate receiving your R&D tax credit claim within 28-36 business days, and it’s HMRC’s ambition to return to this as soon as they can.

EmpowerRD’s insight

At EmpowerRD, we have seen the average payout duration grow considerably throughout May and June. After digging into our own proprietary data set, we uncovered that the delay between submission and payout reached an average of 67 days for claims paid in May and over 75 days for claims paid in June to date.


Unfortunately, this appears to indicate that the 40 days stated by HMRC is a slightly optimistic goal. As familiarity with the enhanced compliance checks increases, we hope that 40 working days’ processing will become more achievable.  

Payment delays are unsettling

Having spoken to many of our clients, we understand how unsettling this payment delay can be for businesses. Many rely on this tax incentive to balance their books or to invest further in R&D to remain competitive.

In spite of our own best efforts and those of industry peers, everyone has struggled to get confirmation about when clients’ payments will be made.

While HMRC’s update is encouraging, there is no evidence that things will return to normal any time soon. And with no end in sight, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to plan for the future.

Jump the queue with R&D Advance Funding

There is a solution to the payout slowdown. R&D advance funding lets you access up to 80% of your future R&D tax credits quickly, allowing you to jump the HMRC queue, unlock working capital and reduce the strain on cash flow.   

At EmpowerRD, we have a strong working relationship with a select set of third-party lenders. Our high success rate on R&D claims gives our lenders the assurance they need, and our online platform gives them instant access to a business’ claim information so they can assess the application and release the advance quickly.

If you’d like to learn more about advance funding, read our helpful Guide to R&D advance funding.

Want to know more about HMRC’s payout slowdown and what this could mean for your future claim, get in touch with one of our experts today.