What is a qualifying project for R&D tax relief?

21 August 2017

Your company is attempting to create/improve a product or process. Could you claim R & D tax relief?

A research and development (R&D) project must seek to achieve an advance in overall knowledge or capability in a field of science or technology through the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainty to qualify the project for the R&D tax reliefs. A wide range of industries undertake R&D work including manufacturing, IT/software, construction, food/beverage, bio- sciences and oil & gas.

An advance in science or technology may be tangible (i.e. a new or more efficient product, such as improved tank and pressure vessel design/new tools) or intangible (i.e. new knowledge or cost improvements) and does not become an advance in science or technology simply because science or technology was used in its creation.  For example: developing new/improved products or processes; bespoke engineering; overcoming problems in product/process development; creating new software and developing foodstuffs with increased shelf lives/different nutritional content.

A qualifying advance in science or technology may also be one that has already been made or attempted but details are not readily available (for example a competitor's trade secret).

Even an unsuccessful project falling within the above conditions would still qualify for R&D tax relief

On the other hand, an advance in the company's own state of knowledge or capability or routine analysis, copying or adaptation of an existing product, material or process, does not qualify as an advance in science or technology, even though it may be completely new to the company, if the details are readily available.

How can we assist you:

  • Discussions with technical staff to help identify any qualifying projects for R&D
  • Review or draft project narratives
  • Identify eligible costs
  • Prepare the claims for R & D tax relief

if would like any further information, please contact Moira Kelly (moira.kelly@aab.uk) or your usual AAB contact.

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