1 Mar, 2019
Four years ago, I almost didn’t go to a seminar about Research & Development Tax Credits, thinking they didn’t apply to Professional Services firms, like ours.
Had I not gone, our company would have lost out on over £47K of credits to date. To put that in perspective, that’s the cost of our new CRM system and our new ISO Lite Toolkit website and our ISO 9001 online learning modules combined. Three of our recent customer relationship and/or sales generating innovations simply wouldn’t have been possible without our tax credits.
That one seminar offered the best ROI of any event I have ever been to. I hope the time you spend reading this question and answer based article will give you a similar ROI by inspiring you to start your own tax credit claim.
There are significant sums of money to be reclaimed by companies of all sizes, not just large multi-nationals but small to medium sized (SME) organisations, such as ourselves.
Oh, and if you think you’re not spending any money on resource on R&D activities, please think again, as you most probably are!
Why didn’t you apply sooner?
I was unaware of the scheme. I’m not alone, tax credits are one of the biggest secrets of business in the UK. Only a fraction of eligible businesses apply for them. One of the most common myths is that they only apply to businesses which employ lab scientists in white coats. That’s simply not true. Any business which has custom-built software is well placed to make a tax credit claim, for example.
The seminar I went to was a real eye opener not only for us but for our clients. I went from being unaware of the scheme to being a complete convert. Since going, I’ve been telling everyone who will listen to have a look at tax credits, especially those looking at implementing a new ISO management system as our fees can be claimed for.
My first step was to approach our accountants about the scheme.
What’s the application process like?
Considering the potential returns, it’s not onerous. The accountants we had at the time weren’t overly enthused so I thought I’d have a go on my own. It took me one day to put together a claim for work on our CRM system and within a fortnight we had received £7k back. That was probably far less than we would have got than if I’d taken specialist advice, but I learned my lesson. I’ve since used expert advice, provided by different accountants, to help me put in a claim to cover a two year period and received £40k in return.
Can you spend the tax credits on whatever you want?
You can. The money is returned to your bank account, normally within a few weeks, and you can do what you like with it.
Has it changed your attitude to innovation?
We are able to do things more quickly, knowing there is a pot of money earmarked for new ideas. We always reinvest it into R&D because we know we can claim it back the following year! In this way, our innovations are self-perpetuating.
We try to invest the money into projects which boost either customer and employee satisfaction, ideally both. Our new CRM, for example, automates some boring, repetitive tasks, which is fantastic for our team as it frees them up to spend more time on the phone talking to prospective and existing clients…this is great for people seeking advice about ISO!
What do you plan to do next?
We have now partnered with tax credit specialists, Business Solutions Midlands, who will be offering free advice to our clients as well as helping us with our next claim. We love their enthusiasm and their success rate, as well as their challenge to potential claimants: ‘We think you’re doing R&D, prove to us that you aren’t.’ Just by talking to people, they can spot potential claims which may otherwise go overlooked, including innovations which weren’t commercial successes. These can all add up and mean the difference between a £7k claim and a £17k claim!
Are you really so confident that this’ll work for me?
Get in touch with them today! The day you spend putting together your claim will be your most productive day all year – if not, I’ll send you a box of chocs! Simply ask for Phil and say that ISO Quality Services recommended you. You can contact Phil on 07541 838 476 or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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