SMEs to benefit from Chancellor’s change to the Research & Development tax credits schemes


Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a partial reversal to the SME Research & Development (R&D) tax credit cuts in the recent Spring Budget after facing months of pressure.

Startups had warned that the cuts, first announced last November in the Autumn Statement, would hinder growth for early-stage and research-intensive tech companies.

The R&D tax credits and relief scheme was already attracting criticism because of suspected fraud and general abuse of the initiative.

The autumn reforms to the R&D scheme became effective from April 2023. The key points include:

For larger businesses, the Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) rate was actually increased from 13 per cent to 20 per cent.

Top up

The previously announced reduction will remain in place, but loss-making “R&D-intensive” startups will receive a top-up. Those that spend 40 per cent or more of their total outgoings on R&D will be able to claim a tax credit of 27 per cent, or £27 for every £100 spent.

The inclusion of some overseas expenditure in R&D tax relief claims is deferred for a year until 1 April 2024, to allow the Government to consider the interaction of this with a potential merged R&D relief scheme.

Two new categories of qualifying R&D expenditure will be created, for data licences and cloud computing services.

It has also been announced that all R&D claims from 1 August 2023 will need to be filed using the new digital forms, regardless of the accounting period concerned.

How to claim R&D relief

You can claim the relief up to two years after the accounting period it relates to, by treating it as a deduction from the company’s profits for the accounting period. The claim must be made in the company tax return or an amendment to the return.

You must send:

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