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Tendering for R&D tax advisory services

Nic Jarvie ForrestBrown
(Last updated on )
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Are you considering putting your research and development (R&D) tax relief claims to tender? ForrestBrown is the UK’s leading R&D tax relief consultancy. Our multi-disciplinary team of specialists provide a targeted advisory service tailored to your business, including:

  • Full claim preparation.
  • Project assessments and technical information gathering.
  • HMRC enquiry support.
  • Transaction advice.
  • Business planning.

ForrestBrown works in partnership with our clients on all aspects of R&D taxation. We provide specialist R&D tax advisory services that help businesses of all sizes and corporate structures not only claim the incentive – but unlock its longer-term strategic benefits.

Find a new R&D tax adviser

If you are considering changing your R&D tax adviser and you want to find out more about our market-leading service, please get in touch. We have a proven record of delivering for large and multi-national businesses.

Or if your current adviser is not delivering the value and level of service you expect, we’d love to discuss how we can work together to realise your long-term innovation goals.

Why you should tender R&D tax credit services

R&D tax relief is undergoing the most significant and transformative shift in the incentive’s existence. Initially, these policy shifts were subtle – but we have now reached a critical turning point.

HMRC and the Treasury have publicly expressed concern about errors in R&D tax relief claims. As a result, HMRC has considerably increased its focus on compliance and the government recently unveiled a wide-ranging consultation into R&D tax relief and how it’s targeted.

As a result, you need to proactively review your R&D tax relief position. The right adviser can help you do this. Our expertise ensures your R&D projects are properly identified and clearly defined, and the full value of your R&D expenditure is accounted for. Our processes are efficient and transparent – you retain control while our team carries out the heavy lifting.

ForrestBrown’s position in our specialist field means we are always at the cutting edge of changes to the incentive, both legislative and operational. We pride ourselves on keeping clients abreast of key policy shifts (like changes to client-led R&D) and pushing forward the policy agenda with consultation responses.

Who to invite to tender

R&D tax relief is a uniquely challenging area of taxation. It doesn’t suit a compliance-based approach because, by its very nature, the incentive requires a critical review of your innovation projects. There is no one size fits all approach, nor is there a process you can roll out unchanged each year with confidence.

That’s why ForrestBrown has a whole team of sector specialists, with substantial experience in a wide array of industries. These specialists work alongside our tax teams to deliver value to our clients.

When inviting R&D advisers to tender, be sure to invite at least one specialist R&D consultancy. Broadly speaking, you should use the following five pillars to judge a specialist’s quality:

  1. Properly regulated: The tax advice market is partially regulated. This means advisers may or may not be subject to oversight and regulation from a professional body like the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT). ForrestBrown is a member of the CIOT and we helped create the R&D tax relief specific industry guidelines.
  2. Sector specialism: It’s worth reiterating: An adviser should have a sector expert with experience in your specific area. This allows your professionals to communicate on a peer-to-peer basis – and it creates robust and ensures you receive the full value of your innovation.
  3. Flexibility: A specialist adviser should be willing to listen to your needs and tailor their support to suit you. At ForrestBrown we don’t try to fit your circumstances to a defined list of services. ForrestBrown's team can provide you with whatever expert R&D tax support you need, including full R&D tax relief claims, technical support for identifying and describing R&D projects, or more targeted consultancy like advising on the impact of a transaction or setting up new structures.
  4. Your time investment: Many advisers offer cheap fees but minimal service. Often these advisers push the technical work of claiming onto you with DIY spreadsheets, rudimentary templates or software portals for capturing financial information. Some advisers require the client to identify their own R&D projects or write project narratives. This takes up your valuable time and risks leaving value on the table – and it’s not the way we operate at ForrestBrown.
  5. Enquiry support: A vital – but often overlooked – aspect of choosing an adviser is whether robust HMRC enquiry support is offered as standard. Enquiries into ForrestBrown’s claims are rare – but when it occurs, we support our clients until the issue is resolved. Our enquiry support service is available to businesses who haven’t prepared their R&D claims with us. If you have an existing enquiry issue, ForrestBrown will be happy to step in and help.

Setting up an R&D tax relief tender process

Many large or complex businesses are used to the tendering process. This experience is valuable when it comes to tendering for R&D tax relief advice – but it’s not the whole picture.

There might be an overlap between the questions you’d ask in an R&D tax relief tender and any other tender process. This will change from business to business, and you’re best placed to judge this. There are, however, a few other questions we’d recommend including in your R&D tax relief tender.

Asking the right questions will facilitate a high-quality advisory service that’s right for you.

R&D tax relief has changed

The incentive has changed quite a bit in the last few years. While it remains a stable and valuable relief for UK businesses, you must know about these critical changes to the market. A few strategic adjustments will make a big difference. Download our market summary to learn more.

Questions to ask in an R&D tax relief tender

  1. What level of experience do you have in R&D tax relief?  How many claims have they prepared? Are they a specialist or a generalist?
  2. Which regulatory bodies or trade memberships are you part of? This will give an indication of standing and accreditation and may also hint at what sectors the firm has strong ties with.
  3. What is your approach to identifying qualifying activities and expenditure for R&D tax relief?
  4. Who are the team that will be involved in my claim, and what level of experience, expertise and qualifications do they have?
  5. What experience do you have with claims in our sector, and can you provide client testimonials or references?
  6. How would you support engagement in the process throughout our business to help maximise our claim?
  7. What is your approach to risk and risk management?
  8. How strong is your relationship with HMRC? What is their perception of your firm?

Transitioning new clients

We realise that changing your R&D tax adviser may feel like a big commitment. ForrestBrown is experienced at transitioning new clients from other advisers and our onboarding process ensures minimal disruption and stress.

When you engage ForrestBrown, we’ll immediately get to work creating a detailed transition plan before your current contract runs out. This plan will be customised to your needs, so nothing will be missed or overlooked.

Our contract terms are clear and there are no nasty surprises in the small print. You’re in total control and don’t have to worry about hidden charges or being locked into a multi-year agreement.

Nicola Jarvie

Get the details right on your R&D tax relief claims

Capture the full value of your innovation. Invite ForrestBrown to tender for your R&D tax relief claims. To discuss your potential tender in further detail, or to ask a question, please contact Nicola Jarvie.