Are you ready for changes to R&D tax reliefs in 2023?

R&D tax reliefs in 2023

Are you ready for changes to R&D tax reliefs in 2023?

Research & Development (R&D) tax reliefs have supported thousands of businesses to invest in innovation by cutting the tax they pay.

However, from 1 April 2023, there will be several changes to the rules surrounding R&D, which could affect how much relief you can claim.

Expand eligible expenditure to data sets, cloud computing and pure mathematics

Businesses can include the costs of purchasing data for R&D projects or using cloud computing services.

Businesses that pay licence fees to rent cloud computer storage space or pay for data costs to pursue R&D can build this expenditure into their claims.

These areas will now come under the R&D qualifying expenditure umbrella, and R&D for tax purposes will also include pure mathematics.

Many businesses will benefit from this change, particularly in the technology and media fields, which could help to mitigate losses from the restrictions on overseas R&D costs.

Restrictions on overseas claims

R&D reliefs will focus on the UK from 1 April 2023. Therefore, subcontracted R&D work and costs for externally provided workers (EPWs) are limited to work undertaken in the UK.

The Government has indicated that it does not want to introduce a rule that discriminates against businesses that cannot practically carry out research in the UK.

A list of exemptions is tied to environmental, geographical, legal or regulatory reasons that would prevent R&D from taking place in the UK.

There may also be an exemption for specific specialist skills, such as consulting world-leading experts in a particular field.

At present, the draft legislation does not change the ability to claim for expenditure incurred by an overseas branch of a UK company.

Cracking down on abuse

HMRC has voiced concern over particular R&D claims and has allocated an additional 100 inspectors to deliver greater scrutiny.

It has also introduced tougher rules, which include:

  • Claims must be made digitally
  • Categories of qualifying expenditure incurred must get disclosed, and brief details of the R&D activities provided
  • A senior company officer must endorse the claims
  • Claims must include details of any agent who advises the company
  • Companies must inform HMRC in advance of their intention to make a claim within six months of the end of the accounting period to which the claim relates.

On this final point, the ICAEW has raised concerns that, in some circumstances, it might prevent businesses from making valid claims.

This is because it shortens the timeframe companies need to determine whether they have a valid claim.

However, in an exception to this rule, if a company has made an R&D claim in one of the preceding three periods, it will not need to pre-notify.

We can advise businesses whether their business has any areas that could qualify for R&D tax relief. Contact us to arrange a consultation with our tax team to find out more. 

Link: Research and Development Tax Relief reform