Want to minimise the risk of enquiry where your R&D tax claim is concerned?

Defending an enquiry from HMRC is an unpleasant experience. This is especially the case when all the hassle could have been avoided in the first place had the matter in hand been handled correctly at the outset. At YesTax, we run an enquiry resolution service to assist companies which are under enquiry for their R&D tax relief claims. These companies have often made the claim without seeking professional advice, or, in some more depressing cases, have taken advice from unscrupulous agents who subsequently don’t act for the client in the event of enquiry.

We’ve been dealing with some pretty rough enquiries in recent months. Invariably, the whole process becomes a stressful situation for all involved. Instead of trying to rescue a client’s position, we thought it far better to avoid the situation entirely. We’ve identified three key considerations which should help minimise the risk of enquiry.

1. Use a trusted, competent adviser.

Experience counts for a lot in professional services – none more so than the R&D advisory sector. Everyone knows there are firms giving poor R&D tax advice. By inflating claims, firms are able to make a quick buck and disappear from sight. We’ll never stop shouting from the rooftops that we’ve seen it all and done it all where R&D tax is concerned. We’re a member of HMRC’s R&D Consultative Committee and our key staff have held senior positions (including owning the UK’s first R&D tax advisory firm) in some of the UK’s most established tax practices. We’re regulated by the professional accountancy and tax institutes our directors are members of and we’re tightly regulated for anti-money laundering purposes. We have input in R&D tax legislation consultations, and we partner with some of the most respected independent accountancy firms in the UK. All of which are qualities we recommend you seek in your R&D tax advisor.

2. Use a firm familiar to, and with, HMRC

Working in the R&D advisory sector for over a decade has meant the team at YesTax has developed intimate knowledge of how HMRC operates when it comes to R&D tax claims. We sit on the HMRC R&D Consultative Committee which means we’re always up to date on the latest legislation and guidance changes, meaning your claim is compiled with expertise and accuracy. A good relationship with HMRC doesn’t mean your claim will get prioritised (despite what anyone says in their marketing literature!) but it does mean we can have a sensible conversation about any subjective areas of your claim.

3. Beware of false claims

Any adviser claiming a ‘100% success rate’ or promising ‘we will increase your claim’ should be approached with caution. We feel that by making false promises at the start of an engagement, the objectivity of advising on a claim, can be affected – thus increasing the risk of enquiry.

The team at YesTax has spent the last 11 years specialising in R&D tax relief and we have never based our approach on salesy nonsense. We will never promise to increase a claim in our sales literature because, put simply, we won’t know the full facts of your R&D activity until we formally engage. We will also never claim a 100% success rate given the sheer numbers of claims we’ve managed over the years. When you’re dealing with thousands of claims, it’s no shame to have the odd one or two queried by HMRC. In some cases, enquiries are positive experiences as it enables us to really understand what HMRC are looking for.

If you are currently under enquiry by HMRC and have nowhere to turn, contact us now at hello@yes.tax