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The history of R&D tax credits in the UK

Jenny Tragner 2019
Jenny Tragner
Read time: 4 minutes

As a UK business owner, an FD, IFA or accountant; you’re relied upon for informed financial decision making. Yet you can’t be expected to keep abreast of every minute R&D tax credit change. At ForrestBrown, R&D tax credits is what we do, day in, day out.

That’s why ForrestBrown is the largest R&D tax credit specialist in the UK and was named ‘best independent consultancy firm’ by Taxation Awards 2018. More than 500 advisers trust us to bring the value of R&D tax credits to their clients.

Since their introduction in 2000, R&D tax credits have been widely regarded as a resounding success. Having survived numerous government changes and the 2008 financial crisis, R&D tax credits remain a central pillar of government business policy today.

The key policy announcements and subsequent R&D tax changes are summarised in our timeline below. These provide a helpful context to making a claim with ForrestBrown.

2021

  • 01 Apr

    PAYE & NIC cap reintroduced

2020

  • 01 Apr

    RDEC rate increased

2019

  • 21 May

    Online service introduced to support RDEC claims

  • 01 Apr

    CT600 and computation made mandatory

  • 11 Feb

    Online service introduced to support SME claims

2018

  • 01 Jan

    RDEC rate increased

2017

  • 01 Apr

    Corporation Tax cut

2016

  • 01 Apr

    Large company super deduction scheme abolished

2015

  • 01 Apr

    Corporation Tax simplified

  • 01 Apr

    SME scheme enhancement rate increased

  • 01 Apr

    RDEC scheme improved

  • 01 Apr

    Eligibility of consumables costs

2014

  • 01 Apr

    Corporation Tax decreases

  • 01 Apr

    SME credit rate boosted

2013

  • 01 Apr

    Corporation Tax decreases

  • 01 Apr

    RDEC incentive introduced

2012

  • 01 Apr

    Restriction of R&D tax credits removed

  • 01 Apr

    Minimum spend is removed completely

  • 01 Apr

    Definition of Externally Provided Workers (EPW) is amended

  • 01 Apr

    Corporation Tax reduction

  • 01 Apr

    SME relief rates changed

  • 01 Mar

    Definition of production is revised

2011

  • 01 Apr

    Online filing for Corporation Tax made compulsory

  • 01 Apr

    Corporation Tax rates cut

  • 01 Apr

    SME scheme rates improved

2009

  • 09 Dec

    The Intellectual Property (IP) condition for SMEs is removed

  • 01 Nov

    HMRC broaden qualifying activities

2008

  • 01 Aug

    Definition of SME amended

  • 01 Aug

    SME scheme rates enhanced

  • 01 Apr

    Large company scheme change

  • 01 Apr

    Corporation Tax rates change

  • 31 Mar

    Claim time reduction

2007

  • 01 Apr

    Corporation Tax rate change

2005

  • 01 Jan

    How to claim for intangible assets

  • 01 Jan

    A new definition of SME

2004

  • 01 Apr

    Amends to the definition of staffing costs

  • 01 Apr

    New costs that can be recouped are introduced

  • 05 Mar

    Legislative changes are made to the definition of R&D for tax purposes

2003

  • 27 Sep

    SME scheme minimum spend removed

  • 27 Sep

    SME scheme staffing costs simplified

  • 27 Sep

    SMEs’ External Provided Worker (EPW) expenditure eligible

  • 09 Apr

    Changes to the large company scheme

  • 09 Apr

    SMEs access the large company incentive

  • 06 Apr

    A temporary change to the definition of staffing costs is introduced in error

2002

  • 01 Apr

    The Corporation Tax rate for SMEs is reduced from 20% to 19%. The main rate of Corporation Tax is 30%.

  • 01 Apr

    R&D tax relief for large companies is introduced.

2001

  • 01 Apr

    R&D capital allowances are introduced.

2000

  • 28 Jul

    The original guidelines on the meaning of research and development published.

  • 01 Apr

    R&D tax credits are launched for SMEs

  • 01 Apr

    The minimum spend on eligible R&D in an accounting period is set at £25,000 a year.

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