In the autumn statement on 3 December the Chancellor announced yet more changes to the R&D tax relief schemes designed to further support the UK’s corporate science and technology base. The headline news is good, with an increase in rates for both the SME scheme and the new R&D Expenditure Credit Scheme (RDEC) for large companies. In addition he announced some administrative changes designed to make it easier for smaller businesses to understand whether they are able to claim. However he also announced the introduction of a restriction on the expenditure on consumables used in the R&D work in certain circumstances.
The good news is that for qualifying R&D expenditure on or after 1 April 2015 the additional deduction that can be claimed for companies claiming under the SME scheme will increase to 130% from 125%. This means that the total corporation tax deduction for such R&D costs will increase to 230%. Companies that are not paying corporation tax are still able to surrender these “super deductions” for a repayable credit.
There is no increase in the rate of super deduction applied to expenditure being claimed under the old large company scheme which remains at 30%. However, claiming under this scheme is optional, since the introduction of the RDEC scheme which enables qualifying expenditure on or after 1 April 2013 to be claimed as a taxable credit. Again for companies not paying corporation tax there is the ability to claim a payable tax credit. The RDEC credit will increase, for expenditure on or after 1 April 2015, from 10% to 11%. This increases the post-tax benefit, when compared to claiming under the old large company scheme. Under RDEC it will increase to 8.8% for periods when the corporation tax has fallen to 20%, compared to 6% for the large company scheme.
A package of measures designed to enable smaller businesses to claim with more certainty has been announced. This will include an advance assurance scheme for companies making their first claim under the SME scheme, improvements to the guidance on claiming R&D tax relief and a consultation in January 2015 on the issues faced by smaller businesses when claiming R&D tax relief. As a member of the R&D Consultative Committee we will be fully involved in these consultations.
Restriction of expenditure of consumable items
The Government have announced, as part of their drive to keep the R&D reliefs well targeted, that from 1 April 2015 the expenditure on consumable items that are incorporated in products that are sold will be ineligible for the R&D tax reliefs under either the SME or either of the large company schemes.
We welcome the announcement that additional support is being given to those companies responsible for driving forward the UK’s scientific and technological innovation efforts. The increases in the amount of the reliefs will enable companies to invest further in R&D with a view to being able to increase their competitiveness on the world stage.
We recognise that this change has been made in order to go some way towards funding the costs of increasing the R&D reliefs set out above. However we remain concerned that this will impact adversely on the ability to claim for development of new products and processes. For example claimants developing large “first in class” products for their clients will be penalised under these changes to the currently accepted position that R&D takes place as a necessary part of the development process.
Please do not hesitate to contact John Moore on 0207 292 8850 or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss the implications of this for your company.
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