R&D Tax Credits – Business continuity and support during these challenging times
The spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a major impact on the way we go about our lives and our business.  The situation is changing daily but we wish to reassure all our existing and future clients that we have already instigated a comprehensive business continuity plan to ensure we are able to provide an uninterrupted service. All our R&D teams have the capability to work remotely and we have instigated a remote approach for all clients, facilitated by video conferencing, allowing us to deliver the same quality and format of service that you would normally receive in person. 

Help Line: Recognising the difficulties businesses are facing in trying to keep up to date with the details of the constantly changing financial support available and finding the information that matters to them, we have set up a help line to support you. We can’t promise to have all the answers at our fingertips as we all know some of these initiatives have yet to be firmed up by the Government, but your feedback will help us understand what you really want to know and focus our efforts on finding you the answers you need. Call us on 0114 263 2632




Initial Meeting


Facts and Figures

Submissions and Review



In 2013 the government introduced a new tax relief for large companies, the R&D Expenditure Credit (RDEC).

The previous large company relief (which ended April 2016) was an enhanced deduction of an extra 30% of qualifying expenditure from a company’s taxable profits, but this attracted a variety of criticisms. Because it was dealt with by the tax department as part of the tax bill, it was not very visible to the technologists actually spending the money on R&D. If they did not see it, they would not be incentivised by it to spend more on R&D. Also, because the large company relief only reduced the tax bill, it was of no immediate value to companies that were loss making, and so not paying tax. These were companies that might need to invest in R&D to improve their profitability, at a time when cash was tight, so it was illogical to have an incentive that was of no immediate use to them.

Having listened to representations onthe subject, the Government introduced the new RDEC regime which can apply to expenditure from 1 April 2013. Currently this provides a cash benefit of 13% (taxable). Because it is a cash benefit, it is designed to be able to be accounted for “above the line” in the accounts – i.e. as income rather than tax. This means it can be more visible in the accounts, and technology budget holders in large companies are more likely to be able to identify it as a valuable addition to their budgets, rather than the company just treating it as a tax windfall.

The relief is currently worth 10.53%  of qualifying spend  in cash terms to a 19% corporation tax payer which compares favourably to the old large company scheme. Choosing to claim under RDEC, became mandatory from 1 April 2016.

To simplify matters, the qualifying rules and administrative procedures are effectively identical to those that applied for the large company R&D relief. However some complexity of detail can arise  in how you set the RDEC off against existing or future tax liabilities before getting actual cash.

It is a good idea to use an adviser who understands the detailed rules.



This limit is to protect the UK Treasury against companies claiming RDEC in the UK, but doing all their R&D work abroad (e.g. through a branch). It means that the claimant cannot get out more in RDEC than it pays in PAYE and NIC attributable to the R&D workers. Although this may sound like a worrying obstacle, it is only intended (and likely) to bite where a lot of the R&D work is done abroad or using third party agency workers.  MSC R&D can advise how to structure the claim to minimise any risk here.  If the RDEC claimed exceeds this cap it is carried forward as though it is claimed in the next Accounting Period, and is tested again until there is sufficient PAYE/NIC available to frank it.



For expenditure which SME companies had to claim under the large company scheme ( because of subcontracting or subsidy issues), these companies can now make  an RDEC claim, which means that for the first time SMEs can get cash for this sort of R&D expenditure.