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R&D Tax Credits: A Comprehensive Guide to Creating a Technical Report

Our guide provides step-by-step instructions on what to include in the report to ensure you receive the maximum tax credit for your research and development projects.

Barrie Dowsett

Chief Executive Officer


10 minute read

Innovation plays a crucial role in the UK's economic growth and competitive advantage on the global stage. Recognising this, the UK Government introduced R&D tax credits to incentivise companies to invest in critical research and development activities.

The R&D tax credit scheme allows businesses to claim a significant reduction in their corporate tax liability or, for loss-making companies, receive cash credits against qualifying R&D expenditure. With billions of pounds in tax relief claimed every year, R&D tax credits have become a valuable source of funding for many UK-based companies.

A key element in obtaining R&D tax credits is a well-prepared and detailed technical report. This document serves as the primary evidence of your development project's eligibility for tax credits, as it demonstrates to HMRC that your company has engaged in genuine, innovative research activities.

A technical report is required for both the SME R&D relief and the Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) schemes. Producing a robust and persuasive technical report is essential to maximise your tax credit claim's success and avoid costly disputes or delays in processing your application.

Our comprehensive guide aims to provide clear and pragmatic instructions for creating a robust technical report that supports your R&D tax credit claim. We understand that navigating the intricacies of tax legislation and producing a compelling report can be a daunting task, particularly for businesses that are new to claiming R&D tax relief.

That's why our guide is designed to demystify the process by providing step-by-step advice on what to include in your report, how to demonstrate your project's eligibility, and best practice tips for presenting your research findings concisely and persuasively.

By following our guidance, you can confidently prepare a robust technical report that highlights your company's innovative achievements and maximises the financial benefits available through the UK's R&D tax credit scheme.

Whether you're a seasoned claimant or new to the process, this guide will significantly enhance your understanding of R&D tax credits and help transform your R&D activities into a strategic source of funding for your business.

Understanding the R&D Tax Credit Claim process:

To make a successful R&D Tax Credit Claim in the UK, it is crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of the process, which begins with determining your eligibility.

Businesses of all sizes and sectors can claim R&D tax credits, provided they undertake projects designed to advance their field and overcome scientific or technological challenges.

There are two main schemes supporting R&D claims in the UK: the SME scheme for small and medium-sized enterprises and the RDEC scheme for large companies. Both schemes have specific eligibility criteria, but fundamentally, they serve to incentivise innovation and ongoing development efforts.

R&D activities that qualify for tax credits may include the creation of new products, processes, or services, or the improvement of existing ones.

Particularly, projects must demonstrate an effort to develop technical knowledge, address scientific or technological uncertainties, and be systematic in nature. It is important to note that both successful and unsuccessful projects can be acknowledged in the claim process if they meet the outlined criteria.

The R&D tax credit is calculated based on a company's eligible R&D expenditure, which can cover costs such as employee wages, subcontractor fees, materials, software, and utility expenses.

The value of the credit depends on the scheme under which a claim is made. For example, under the SME scheme, firms can claim up to 33% of their qualifying R&D costs, while the RDEC scheme offers a cash credit of around 13% of eligible expenditure. Please note, these figures are due to change from 1st April 2023, read more via our latest blog: Spring Budget 2023: What the R&D Tax and Creative Tax Relief Changes Mean for Businesses

A detailed technical report plays a pivotal role in the R&D tax credit claim process as it justifies the eligibility of the project and aligns the activities undertaken with the relevant tax relief scheme. The report must include a robust explanation of the project's objectives, the scientific or technological advancements pursued, uncertainties faced, and the methods employed to overcome them. A well-constructed report ensures your claim is substantiated, accurate, and compliant, ultimately maximising your chances of receiving the full R&D tax credit benefit.

Overall, understanding the R&D Tax Credit Claim process in the UK, including eligibility criteria, qualifying activities, credit calculation, and the importance of a comprehensive technical report, will significantly enhance the effectiveness of your claim and increase the likelihood of receiving the maximum tax credit available to your business.

Elements of a Technical Report:

An R&D tax credit claim's technical report is a crucial component in substantiating your application, as it outlines the research and development activities conducted within your organisation.

First and foremost, it must provide a comprehensive overview of the R&D project, including the project's objectives, scope and innovation, while explaining how it advances current industry knowledge or technology.

Next, the report should emphasise the technical challenges and uncertainties that you encountered during the project - this is essential to demonstrate that you were tackling complex problems, the resolution of which was not readily apparent or accessible in the public domain.

Furthermore, your report must delve into the finer details of your experimentation and testing process. This comprises the methods employed, hypotheses formulated, alternative approaches considered, and the rationale behind your chosen methodology.

Not only does this demonstrate the level of technical expertise employed in resolving the uncertainties, but it also bolsters the credibility of your project as a genuine R&D endeavour.

In addition, the results and conclusions drawn from the project must be included, showcasing the contribution made to the advancement of industry knowledge or technical capabilities. This will help illustrate the impact of your R&D project on your organisation, your industry or the market.

A detailed project timeline and list of resources used throughout the R&D process are necessary to establish the scope and complexity of your efforts. This encompasses labour costs, materials, subcontracting expenses, and any other resources utilised in pursuing the project.

Lastly, make sure to provide supporting documentation, such as time keeping records, project management records, progress reports or patent applications, to strengthen and validate your claim. This corroborative evidence is fundamental in substantiating the legitimacy of your R&D project and ensures the successful granting of tax credits.

Tips for Creating an Effective Technical Report

An effective technical report will include a comprehensive overview of your R&D project. To ensure that the report is successful in achieving its purpose, there are several key tips to consider when writing and formatting it.

First, you should identify and address any key technical challenges that have been encountered during the R&D process. This will help to demonstrate the complexity of the research undertaken and provide evidence of the development process. It can also be used to support an increase in the amount of tax credit claimed.

Second, structuring your report in an organized manner will allow for maximum impact when presenting your findings and results. Providing an introduction at the start of your report as well as a conclusion at the end will help to bring structure throughout this document.

Additionally, including subheadings with clear titles can further aid understanding and provide context when discussing specific topics and ideas within the body of your work.

Thirdly, it is essential that accuracy and completeness are maintained throughout your report. Be sure to double-check all of your calculations for mistakes before submitting and thoroughly explain any methods or techniques employed within your work so that readers have no questions about their meaning or application.

Fourthly, using simple language that is easy to read and understand is beneficial for both yourself as well as anyone reading through your document later on down the line. Keep complex words or jargon to a minimum when possible so that information can be easily found by those unfamiliar with technical terminology.

Finally, including visual aids such as diagrams or charts can significantly improve comprehension by allowing readers to quickly visualize data or processes without having to filter through lengthy text blocks full of numbers and percentages etc. Incorporating this type of content into your report can also help make it more eye-catching which may incentivize individuals to take greater interest in what they are viewing.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Creating a Technical Report

When creating a technical report for an R&D tax credit claim, it is crucial to avoid common mistakes that could potentially jeopardise your eligibility for the credit.

Firstly, omitting key technical details may lead to an inadequate understanding of your project by the HMRC.

To prevent this, ensure that your report highlights the scientific or technological uncertainties your project addresses, the advancements or new knowledge gained, and the experimental development undertaken to achieve these objectives. Be sure to include enough detail to demonstrate that your project qualifies as R&D under the tax credit scheme.

Secondly, a common error is failing to link the technical details to the R&D tax credit claim. Your report should document how the advancements in science and technology are directly related to your R&D expenditure. Explain how your company's investments in the R&D project have contributed to resolving uncertainties, achieving technological advancements, and ultimately delivering measurable benefits to your business.

Another mistake is not providing adequate documentation. To substantiate your claim, it is essential to keep comprehensive records, including staff time sheets, project plans, internal correspondence, invoices for R&D-related expenditures, and any other relevant documentation. These records will help strengthen your claim and make it easier for the revenue authority to evaluate your project's eligibility for the tax credit.

Lastly, overcomplicating the report with technical jargon may make it difficult for non-experts to understand the significance of your R&D activities. To ensure your report is clear and comprehensible, use plain English and avoid excessive technical terminology.

Provide context and explanations for any technical terms that must be used and consider using visual aids such as diagrams or flowcharts to illustrate key processes or concepts.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you will increase the likelihood of a successful R&D tax credit claim and secure more financial support for your research and development projects.


In conclusion, the significance of a thorough and well-structured technical report cannot be overstated when it comes to claiming R&D tax credit in the UK. By diligently preparing this crucial document, businesses can ensure that they receive the maximum possible tax relief for their innovative pursuits.

To recap, key takeaways from our comprehensive guide should give your technical report the utmost clarity and precision. These include discussing your project’s eligibility for R&D tax credit, detailing your project's scientific or technological advancements, unveiling uncertainties resolved during the process, delineating research methodologies, and articulating project costs with transparency.

While this guide provides insights into tailoring your technical report meticulously, it is crucial to remember that each R&D project has its unique nuances, and individual cases may encounter varying complexities. For this reason, seeking professional guidance from specialist R&D tax advisors during the preparation of your report can be immensely beneficial, ensuring a successful and smooth claim process.

We implore you to take advantage of the valuable insights from our comprehensive guide and begin constructing your own rigorous technical report to justify your R&D tax credit claim. Should you find yourself in need of expert assistance or advice, do not hesitate to reach out to professionals in this field.

Empower your organisation today by leveraging the support of R&D tax credit and propel your business towards greater innovation, technological advancement, and economic growth. It is time to experience the benefits you rightfully deserve; kickstart your technical report for R&D tax credit claim in the UK without delay.

Why choose Myriad Associates to help with your R&D tax claim?

Myriad Associates has been managing R&D Tax Credit claims for nearly two decades, assisting a broad range of companies up and down the country. No matter what size or sector your company is in, we can help.

We understand how important R&D Tax Credits are, both to individual companies and the wider economy as a whole. However, because the government is keen to maintain the scheme’s success, they often update the rules and regulations around these R&D tax schemes, which can get confusing. This is where we come in.

The expert team of R&D tax advisors here at Myriad Associates apply a unique methodology when navigating through the complexities of the R&D tax claims process. To secure the R&D tax relief you're eligible for, we maintain a holistic approach.

First, we’ll work to understand the technical and scientific uncertainties your project faced in order to ensure we meet HMRC's strict R&D tax credits criteria.  Then, we’ll use that information to build a robust technical report, collate all the relevant costs and calculate the benefit owed for inclusion in your company’s tax return.

We’ll also happily handle any enquiries from HMRC should they arise. The claims criteria can be difficult to understand and so enquiries are becoming a more regular occurrence as HMRC works hard to tackle abuse of the scheme.

Whatever stage you’re at in your claim for R&D Tax Credits, simply contact us on 0207 118 6045 or use our contact page.

Whether you need full support from start to finish or simply have a quick question, we’re here to help.

Do you need help with an HMRC enquiry?

Has your R&D tax relief claim attracted the attention of HMRC? Don’t panic.

Enquiries into R&D tax relief claims by HMRC are on the rise. Our highly-qualified team will provide the utmost support to secure a beneficial resolution for your HMRC R&D enquiry, so that you can rest assured knowing your business is in safe hands.

We are well equipped to offer actionable advice on any R&D tax relief enquiries made by HMRC as well as provide proactive reviews that can help ensure complete peace of mind during these uncertain times.

If you’ve been contacted by HMRC about your R&D Tax Credit claim, or you’d simply like to know more, please do get in touch using our contact form or call our friendly team on 0207 118 6045.

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