Claiming Research and Development (R&D) Tax Relief is a two-part challenge for most small and medium-sized enterprises.
The first part of the challenge is to show HMRC the details of what they have spent on R&D activities, and how that spending conforms to the rules and guidelines that have been published. That’s an accountancy challenge, and at Myriad we combine years of industry experience with a detailed working knowledge of the R&D Tax Legislation since its inception in 2001. Our approach ensures that all eligible costs are identified and the client’s R&D Tax Relief is maximised.
The second and more difficult part of the challenge is to show HMRC that the work your company has been doing does indeed meet all the criteria for R&D. HMRC’s inspectors don’t have time to study and understand the technology used in your industry, so they need to be told what you’ve done and why it is significant. They need to be told about your projects accurately and precisely in language that is clear and easy to follow. That’s why at Myriad we make sure your claim for R&D Tax Relief is fully supported by a detailed technical report on your R&D projects. Many of our customers have mentioned in their testimonials that our technical reports are something that sets Myriad apart from our competitors. We like to think of it as giving your company the Myriad Advantage.
We met with David Farbey, one of Myriad Associates’ Technical Consultants, to discuss the Technical Report process. David has worked in hi-tech industries for over 20 years, and has taught on the Technical Communication MA programme at Sheffield Hallam University for nearly 10 years.
David Farbey: I’ve been working as a professional technical communicator (or “technical writer” if you prefer) for over 20 years, so obviously writing about technology is my profession. I am not a programmer but I have spent enough time working in development projects to have a good understanding of software technologies and the software development lifecycle, so that’s another skill – understanding technology. I also make use of my research and interviewing experience. I try to know as much as possible about our client’s work before I meet them, so that I can ask them the important questions about their work and not waste their time on things that I can find out elsewhere.
David Farbey: The Technical Report is a way of demonstrating to HMRC that the work done by a company claiming R&D Tax Relief meets the criteria laid down in the BIS Guidelines. We generally include some background to the Company and to the general industry sector, and explain the context of the technological challenges the Company faced. We then describe the work the Company did and the advancements they made.
David Farbey: When we meet our clients to discuss their claims for R&D Tax Relief we discuss the financial aspects of their claim, but we also talk about the actual research and development work they’ve done. We try to have a good understanding of what they are doing beforehand, but sometimes the sector they work in is very specialised so that’s hard to do. Most of our clients are happy to talk about their work, and sometimes we need to make sure they stay focused on what’s relevant for R&D.
After our meeting, we draw up a draft Technical Report and ask for feedback, and occasionally for clarification of certain points. Our clients are busy people and we aim to take up the minimum possible amount of their time, so we put every effort into getting the Technical Report right first time.
The approved report is incorporated in the R&D Tax Relief claim. Although we contribute our expertise in writing the report, it’s important to stress that it’s always the client’s report, not ours, and the client always has the final word on approving the content.
David Farbey: Myriad Associates doesn’t just have a thorough understanding of R&D Tax Relief rules and guidelines and an excellent working relationship with HMRC. We also pride ourselves on understanding the technology our clients use. We help our clients support their R&D Tax Relief claims with detailed Technical Reports that can explain that technology and highlight the significance of the R&D activities they have undertaken. This means that when HMRC review the claim they have all the information they need right away, and they rarely come back to us or the client with any queries. I think that puts our service in a class of its own, and that’s why I like to think of our Technical Report as the Myriad Advantage.
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