The role of expert R&D specialists in ensuring compliance

More than ever, navigating the complexities of R&D tax credits demands the guidance of experts. Specialist R&D advisors are essential, providing invaluable insights into interpreting regulations, steering companies toward compliance with HMRC guidelines, and mitigating the risk of enquiries. With the scheme undergoing frequent updates and increased compliance measures in recent years, the role of experienced R&D advisors has grown significantly. 

This article is the second in a series dedicated to understanding enquiries. In this edition, we explore the pivotal role of R&D advisors in 2024, underscoring their crucial contribution to navigating the intricate landscape of R&D tax incentives.  


The role of an R&D agent in 2024

Navigating the stringent R&D Tax Credit claims process

In 2024, the role of an R&D agent is crucial in guiding companies through HMRC’s rigorous R&D tax credit claims process. The landscape has shifted from minimal documentation to a more stringent environment where accuracy is paramount. This has redefined the R&D agent’s role as an advisor and strategic partner in ensuring compliance and handling potential enquiries.

Aligning with HMRC’s requirements

To maintain eligibility for an R&D claim, ensuring that all aspects align with HMRC’s requirements is crucial. This encompasses the technical narrative, financial details, and even the operational side of claim submission. Also, familiarity with the additional information form (AIF) and a track record of successful AIF submissions are vital. HMRC introduced the AIF on 8 August 2023 to enhance the robustness of claims. This implementation serves as a positive indicator of an agent’s expertise. 

Essentially, a true expert can articulate scientific or technological advancements, adhere to BIS guidelines, stay updated on claims processes, and maintain utmost accountability.

Managing HMRC enquiries

The experience of an R&D agent in managing HMRC enquiries is also valuable, demonstrating expertise and reliability. Working with an advisor with a successful track record handling enquiries provides added assurance. If the stat is not readily accessible on their website or sales materials, request information regarding the advisors’ enquiry and success rates. This will provide insight into the number of enquiries they have received and the success rate of those enquiries.

Supporting Clients throughout the review process

In essence, an R&D agent in 2024 combines compliance expertise, strategic advice, and defence against enquiries, supporting clients throughout the HMRC review process.

Why work with EmpowerRD?

EmpowerRD offers comprehensive support for R&D tax claim enquiries, ensuring a smooth and compliant process. Our services include:

  1. Standard enquiry support: Our service includes standard enquiry support, making it hassle-free for our clients.
  2. Experienced team: Our Enquiry Response team comprises individuals with extensive expertise.
  3. Intuitive platform: Unlike traditional advisors who use spreadsheets and email chains to compile a claim, our platform consolidates all data, finances, and documentation in one place. This organised approach ensures a centralised data trail, making claim defence more efficient and robust.
  4. Client communication: We inform our clients at every stage of the enquiry process, ensuring transparency.
  5. Data management: We ensure that your claim report contains sufficient information and, if necessary, work closely with clients to gather additional data.
  6. Direct HMRC communication: EmpowerRD handles all communications with HMRC, simplifying the process for our clients.

In 2023, EmpowerRD maintained an impressively low enquiry rate of just 2.4%. This starkly contrasts with HMRC’s reported non-compliance rates for the tax year 2020-2021. During that period, a substantial 14% of claims were found to be fully non-compliant, while 38% exhibited partial non-compliance. While these rates do not guarantee an enquiry, the significant difference in averages underscores our unwavering commitment to minimising compliance issues for our clients. With meticulous attention to detail and a steadfast dedication to excellence, we consistently strive to provide our clients with the highest level of service and peace of mind.

Trusted Partner for R&D Tax Claims:

EmpowerRD has assisted over 1200+ UK companies in building optimised and compliant R&D tax claims totalling over £200 million. Our experts are here to support your business. Contact us today if you have any questions.

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