UK R&D spending lowest in the G8

Tax Comments Off on UK R&D spending lowest in the G8

The government spends around 0.49% of GDP on funding research and development (R&D), prompting business groups to call for an increase to help increase growth.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is calling on the government to increase total R&D spending to 3% of GDP as research shows that the current level of spending is the lowest among the G8.

John Cridland, director general of the CBI, said:

“Innovation investment has never been more important, given its effect on enhancing productivity.

“While our economy is doing well, we must not be complacent, as we cannot afford to rest on our laurels while our peers pace ahead.”

The CBI wants the government to set out a “coherent framework” to boost innovation and create more capacity in the economy in the long term.

Getting the most out of R&D

In order to qualify for government tax credits or relief a company must be engaging in R&D activities that are:

  • systematic, investigative and experimental
  • carried out in an approved scientific or technological field
  • seeking technological or scientific advancement
  • seeking to resolve uncertainty.

The rates of relief available depend on the size of your company.

New advance assurance scheme for research and development tax relief for small companies

HMRC has now published ‘Making R&D Easier: HMRC’s plan for small business R&D tax reliefs’ outlining HMRC’s new administrative framework to help streamline and increase awareness of the R&D tax relief process.

From November 2015 there will be a new Advance Assurance scheme for small company first time claimants. This scheme will ‘provide guidance and certainty to small businesses as successful applicants will have assurance from HMRC that we will accept their first three years of R&D tax relief claims’.

The focus is on first time claimant smaller companies, with turnover under £2m and fewer than 50 employees. It will be a voluntary, non-statutory scheme, available both to companies that have already undertaken R&D, and also to those intending to do R&D.

For more information please contact John Elliott.