The Story of R&D Tax Credits | Kene Partners (2023)

Since the R&D tax credits were introduced in 2000, they are widely recognized as a success story, giving significant momentum to business and inspiring larger and newer companies to focus on innovative projects.

Here we look at R&D tax incentives, their history and the many benefits they offer to businesses across the UK.

What are R&D tax credits?

Research and development (R&D) tax credits are a form of tax exemption granted by the UK government that rewards companies of all sizes (including start-ups) and sectors that invest in innovation.

Credits can take the form of a direct cash payment from HMRC or a reduction in corporation tax.

know more about itR&D tax incentivesem.

The history of the R&D tax credit

I+Dtax creditsThey were first introduced in 2000 by the UK government for SMEs. After a period of deliberation, the Labor government, chaired by Chancellor Gordon Brown, introduced R&D tax breaks for the first time. Through the incentive, they wanted to show that the UK is a world leader in innovation and demonstrate their commitment to being at the forefront of technological excellence. the idea ofR&D Tax CreditsThe scheme consists of offering an IRC discount and/or eligible credit to SMEs that carry out research and development projects within their organisation.

(Video) Research & Development Tax Credits Explained

R&D tax credits were introduced to allow SMEs to increase the percentage of GDP spent on R&D from 1.7% to 3%. A separate incentive for larger companies called the R&D Expenses Credit (RDEC) was introduced in 2002 (see below).


In April 2002, three changes were made to the R&D tax credit system: R&D capital subsidies were introduced to provide a tax exemption for R&D-related capital expenditures and to replace subsidies for scientific research; the IRC rate goes from 20% to 19% for SMEs (returns to 20% in 2007); Tax deductions are introduced for the R&D work of large companies.

In September 2003, the PME plan became more affordable by removing a minimum fee and making it easier to claim R&R-related personnel costs.

Additional changes were introduced in April 2004, with a wider range of eligible costs including materials consumed or transformed in the R&D process (such as water, fuel and energy).

In 2008, an SME amendment doubled the threshold for number of employees, annual turnover and total assets, meaning more companies were classified as such and eligible for the scheme. At the same time, the regime's exemption was increased from 50% to 75% (and again increased to 100% in 2011 and 125% in 2012) and credit debt from 16% to 14% (to 12.5% ​​in 2011 and 11% in 2012) . ).


HMRC expanded the scope in 2009 with the introduction of Qualifying Indirect Activities (QIA), allowing more activities to be eligible under the programme, e.g. B. Administrative, financial and security costs related to R&D projects.

In 2011 the corporate tax rate for companies other than SMEs will be reduced from 28% to 26%; This was to support the government's goal that all companies should have a uniform corporate tax rate, which should rise from 30% to 20% between 2002 and 2015.

(Video) Take advantage of R&D tax relief claims

April 2012 saw a further corporate tax cut (26% to 24%), a change in the definition of EPW (Externally Provided Workers) removing a restrictive set of requirements, and the removal of minimum spend and PAYE liabilities . and NIK. Lid.

In April 2013, the RDEC Incentive (Credits for Research and Development Expenses) was introduced, replacing the previously applicable regulation for large companies. RDEC accounts for pre-tax profits and has been integrated to provide greater certainty, value and transparency to companies reporting losses. Two years later, the RDEC rate increased from 10% to 11%.

In 2015, when the IRC was finally raised to 20% for all companies, the strengthening of the SME regime was increased to 130% and stricter rules for the eligibility of consumer goods were introduced.


In 2016, after 3 years of cooperation with RDEC, the super deduction system for large companies was abolished. Two years later, in 2018, the RDEC rate was increased to 12%.

2019 launched an online service for SME and RDEC complaints and held the first government consultation to prevent abuse of the R&D tax break regime, including the reintroduction of PAYE and NIC caps in 2021. Also in 2019, HMRC the CT600 and one-point calculation mandatory to improve the quality of tax credit claims.

Three further consultations were carried out in 2020, including the second part on preventing abuse of the R&D tax subsidy for SMEs, which meant companies with less than £20,000 tax credit payable did not have to apply the PAYE and NIC limit. The other two queries focused on data and cloud computing spending and the UK's research and development roadmap. The RDEC rate will also rise to 13% this year.

In 2021, the government responded to the R&D tax exemption request and announced reforms: cloud and data costs were now included in qualifying spend, UK innovation was refocused and steps were taken to improve compliance and prevent abuse of the system. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the government has also allowed companies to temporarily offset losses with up to three previous profitable years.

(Video) R&D Tax Credits Explained with MPA and Composites UK

Ab 2023

Looking ahead, in April 2023, more allocations will be made within qualifying spend (including data licenses, cloud costs, and pure math) and new measures will be introduced to further limit abuse of the R&D tax incentive scheme.

The introductionR&D Tax Creditssaw the UK join several other countries that had already offered, such as Canada, Hungary, Japan and the USResearch and Development Tax CreditIncentives to promote innovation in companies.

The R&D tax break is designed to encourage growth and reward companies for investing in new or improved products, processes, services, devices or systems.

not just haveR&D Tax CreditsThey survived the financial crisis of 2008 and several changes of government since their inception, but are still an important element of corporate finance today.

Learn more in our video:About R&D tax credits.

PME versus RDEC

After the SME tax credit incentive, a separate incentive for larger companies called the Credit for R&D Expenses (RDEC) was introduced in 2002.

Both parts of the tax credit system allow small and large companies to invest in innovation and development:

(Video) randd uk - R&D Tax Credits Experts

  • The branch of PYME (Small-Medium Company).is designed for small and medium-sized companies
  • Das Enhanced Research and Development Credit Scheme (RDEC)is designed for large companies

SME tax credits are suitable for companies that:

  • Employ no more than 500 employees

Have an annual turnover of less than 100 million euros OR a balance sheet of less than 86 million euros.

RDEC tax credits are suitable for companies that:

  • Employs more than 500 employees
  • have an annual turnover of at least 100 million euros
  • Have at least 86 million euros in gross assets

Read more about RDEC here.

What are the benefits of R&D tax credits?

There are numerous business benefits of R&D tax credits, including:

  • A bonus on your corporate income tax
  • A paid or cash tax credit
  • An extended deduction that your company can transfer if you wish
  • improved cash flow
  • Extension of funding
  • It shows investors and stakeholders that you are developing something that is valuable in the eyes of the government.

Learn more in our article:How does the UK government support SMEs?

What counts as R&D?

The UK Government defines R&D for tax purposes as taking place when a project aims to advance science or technology. Despite misconceptions, this can be applied to any industry.

(Video) Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credits for SMEs

This can be the development of a new:

  • Products
  • Proceedings
  • Service
  • Device
  • To know

It also involves improving any of the above.

Find out more about what counts as R&D and more about tax breaks in our.


What qualifies for R&D tax credits? ›

What costs qualify for R&D tax credits? Staff, including salaries, employer's NIC, pension contributions and reimbursed expenses. Subcontractors and freelancers. Materials and consumables including heat, light and power that are used up or transformed by the R&D process.

What is the R&D credit limitation for 2022? ›

Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 Changes to R&D Tax Credit

With a $500,000 cap, this credit is in effect for tax years beginning after December 31, 2022. Previously, qualified small businesses could utilize their R&D tax credits to offset the 6.2% employer portion of Social Security payroll tax liability up to $250,000.

What is R&D tax credit? ›

What does R&D tax credit mean? The R&D credit means that organizations that invest in qualified research and development activities to incentivize innovation and growth (as defined in Internal Revenue Code section 41) may be eligible for a general business tax credit.

Is the R&D tax credit going away? ›

After December 31, 2021, the TCJA eliminates the option to deduct R&D expenditures in the current tax year. The new tax treatment requires taxpayers to capitalize and amortize U.S. and foreign-based R&D expenses over five and 15 years tax years, respectively.

Can a partnership claim R&D tax credits? ›

LLPs in Partnership with a Limited Company

In this instance the limited company can apply for the R&D tax credit on the R&D they have undertaken in the partnership. Their relief can be awarded either as a credit or as a deductible.

How much do you get back for R&D tax credit? ›

If you're profit-making, you can receive up to 25% credit back from your R&D expenditure. If you're loss-making you can receive up to 33.35%. The more profit you make, the greater your credit will be (up to the 25% maximum).


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