Scottish firms ‘missing out’ on R&D tax relief due to lack of awareness

SCOTTISH businesses could be missing out on tens of thousands of pounds worth of tax relief, it has been claimed.

RDS, a firm which specialises in research and development, revealed it has analysed official figures to reach that conclusion, stating that firms that could be eligible to claim tax relief through the HMRC Tax Incentive are missing out.

The company revealed that only 3% of all claims made through the tax relief scheme came from Scottish companies, with 97% coming from elsewhere in the UK.

Mark Joyner, MD of RDS, said, “The HMRC Tax Incentive scheme was set up by the UK Government to encourage innovation and stimulate the economy by supporting firms to bring new products and services to market. If a company has undertaken any research and development project in this or the previous financial year, it will be eligible to claim, even if the project was unsuccessful or if product-based, the product has not been brought to market.

“The issue seems to be that not many business owners know about the scheme, and those that do, think they are not eligible, or simply don’t have the time to look into it. This is especially true in Scotland where very few companies have made claims, which leads me to believe that the awareness is just not there. We’re hoping to change all that.

“The brilliant thing about the schemes is that, where the application process can be complex, at RDS we are able to find out if firms would qualify in as little as a fifteen-minute conversation. The average claim for an SME is £53,000, so for me, that surely has to be worth looking into.

“Most of our clients are surprised by the amount they receive through a successful claim. The majority go on to invest it back into the business, either for more research and development (making them eligible for the next year) or there are a good proportion that are using it to offset rising business costs or pay back loans taken during the pandemic.

“If you’re already doing research and development, why wouldn’t you claim back what is rightly owed to you?”