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If you or your client are facing an enquiry from HMRC into an R&D tax credit claim, ForrestBrown is here to help. Our enquiry support service provides peace of mind that your HMRC enquiry will be resolved. We save your time, and your relationship with HMRC is protected.

What is the ForrestBrown R&D enquiry support service?

With this new service, ForrestBrown will support HMRC enquiries into R&D tax credit claims prepared by others. Whether you are a business, an accountant or another specialist adviser, working with ForrestBrown will give you access to unrivalled specialist technical expertise when you need it most.

How does it work?

Our enquiry support service is part of ForrestBrown’s consultancy offering, and is led by ForrestBrown director Jenny Tragner CA. As an active member of HMRC’s R&D Consultative Committee, we benefit from policy-level insights that mean we understand what HMRC are looking for in support of R&D tax credit claims. Our commitment to quality means our own R&D tax credit claims stand up to HMRC scrutiny – in fact, our enquiry rate in 2018 was just 0.8%.

How we work together with you will depend on your business and your needs, but you can expect it to start with a thorough review of your R&D tax credit claim(s) and your correspondence with HMRC to date. Ensuring that there is a legitimate basis for your claim is important to us.

If after this review we see an opportunity to help, we will arrange for a hugely experienced team to manage the enquiry for you through to resolution. How long this will take is not always easy to estimate, but it is best to assume that it might take a while, with long periods of waiting.

Why launch an enquiry support service now?

The service came about after we were approached by several businesses whose claims, which had been prepared and submitted elsewhere, resulted in them receiving a query from HMRC.  We identified an opportunity for us to help, and successfully resolved the R&D enquiry on their behalf.

Formalising this service will help to ensure the incentive helps to stimulate private sector investment in innovation. With it we will help businesses access the R&D tax credit they deserve by helping them to answer HMRC’s questions, ultimately resolving their enquiry.

In the the last six months, we have seen a seismic shift in HMRC’s approach to R&D tax credits, following reports that it had identified and prevented £300m of fraud linked to an R&D tax credit claim. This is why in last year’s Budget, the government announced it will reintroduce the PAYE and NIC cap on the SME payable credit that was abolished in 2012.

HMRC has also taken significant steps to clarify what it expects to see in support of R&D tax credit claims. It recently published new guidance for software businesses to make clear how they should explain their research and development. Earlier this month, it introduced a new online service to provide a standard format for HMRC to gather supporting information for SME R&D tax credit claims. From 1 April 2019, it will also require all amendments to company tax returns to be accompanied by a full amended CT600 and computation.

Commenting on this shift, director and HMRC R&D Consultative Committee member Jenny Tragner CA said:

HMRC has taken clear steps to make clear what information it expects to receive in support of R&D tax credit claims. There is a risk that these changes will create something of a perfect storm that could increase the number of enquiries HMRC open in the coming months. You may face a claim being challenged where before it was not.

For businesses and advisers who are already claiming R&D tax credits, the message is clear: HMRC expects high standards and consistency when it comes to R&D tax credit claims. Jenny Tragner CA

Speak to the experts

The ForrestBrown enquiry support team is made up of dedicated, specialist experts. It includes qualified chartered tax advisers, sector experts, lawyers and a former HMRC inspector. The value of a good relationship with HMRC cannot be overstated. That’s why it’s not worth taking any chances when it comes to an HMRC enquiry. Here at ForrestBrown, we’re ready to engage with businesses and advisers who may need our support.

For more information, or to discuss a specific enquiry, please contact Jenny Tragner on 0117 926 9022 or at j.tragner@forrestbrown.co.uk.


This article was last updated on 8 May 2019.