Without specialist support, R&D tax credit enquiries can be time-consuming and complex. Working with our expert team will ensure they don’t get in the way of you running your business.
Enquiry support service for HMRC R&D tax relief enquiries
Our expert team will resolve your HMRC R&D enquiry, protecting your business and securing the best outcome for you.
Whatever stage of the enquiry process you are at, we offer:
- Outcome-focused enquiry support for SMEs and large companies tailored to your needs.
- Unrivalled specialist technical expertise from a multidisciplinary team that includes former HMRC inspectors, lawyers & industry experienced technical specialists.
- Actionable insights into evolving HMRC requirements and policy changes.
- Full pre-emptive claim reviews on a consultancy basis for complete peace of mind.
ForrestBrown’s enquiry support service
ForrestBrown’s enquiry support service can cover everything from a thorough claim review, making sure your R&D claim can withstand HMRC scrutiny, to managing every aspect of an enquiry on your behalf.
Want to know more about enquiries and why they’re raised? Find out all you need to know about R&D tax relief enquiries.
If you are facing an R&D tax credit enquiry relating to a claim you’ve prepared yourself or with another adviser or partner, then let our team of experts take complete control. Whether you need a sense check, have just received a compliance letter or need us to step into a long-running enquiry, we will help you to get the resolution you need.
Our service includes:
- A full and thorough review of all claim documentation and HMRC correspondence to date.
- Handling all aspects of your enquiry, managing timelines and liaising with HMRC on your behalf.
- Developing and delivering a strategy that meets your business priorities, balancing protecting the value of your claim with achieving a resolution as quickly as possible.
Our enquiry support process
At ForrestBrown, we can take full and immediate control of your enquiry. We drive the enquiry process forward with a proactive approach, controlling the agenda and working towards a favourable resolution.
We tailor our process to your business and priorities – this is often a combination of preserving claim value and reaching a quick resolution. Although bespoke, you can expect our enquiry support service to include the following steps:
Reviewing your documentation
Send us your R&D tax credit claim(s) and any correspondence you have received from HMRC. We will carry out a thorough review of the claim and any discussions held to date.
Advising you on your position
Following our analysis, we will advise you on your current position and provide a report setting out our recommendations. Based on your priorities, we will outline our enquiry strategy to achieve the best possible result for your business.
Implementing our recommendations
A multidisciplinary team with the right specialist technical expertise will help resolve the enquiry for you. We can take responsibility for all correspondence with HMRC and manage all aspects of the enquiry going forward, leaving you free to focus on other business priorities. We will keep you updated throughout.
Information gathering & analysis
We will collect any further information required. This may include a visit to your place of work to understand your R&D. Our expert team will work directly with your competent professional and finance team when their input is needed.
Responding to HMRC’s concerns
We will draft formal written responses to HMRC. Sometimes this will resolve the enquiry.
Discussion, negotiation & resolution
Further discussions may continue until a satisfactory resolution is reached. If it comes to negotiation, our legal experts will manage this on your behalf. Our aim is to achieve the best possible result for your business.
The experts you need to navigate your R&D tax enquiry
When you’re facing an enquiry, you want the best possible team on your side to protect your reputation as well as the value in your R&D claim.
Once we’ve understood your business, we assemble a senior team of experts matched to your exact needs. They will then work tirelessly to protect your business and secure the best outcome for you. Our enquiry support team brings together:
- former HMRC R&D unit inspectors
- qualified chartered tax advisers and chartered accountants
- sector specialists with relevant industry experience
- tax lawyers experienced in dispute resolution
Jenny Tragner CA ATT (Fellow)
- R&D tax incentive policy expert.
- 20 years of tax experience, including advising some of the UK’s best-known innovators.
- Provides advice on the most complex cases involving R&D tax reliefs, including the resolution of HMRC disputes.
Expertise & specialisms
- UK corporate taxation and accountancy
- R&D tax policy
- Quality assurance and professional standards
Jenny is one of the UK’s leading R&D tax policy experts having specialised in the field since 2007. A highly skilled chartered accountant with almost 20 years of experience, she leads client-facing teams and helps us deliver high quality advice to clients and is a respected and influential voice within the industry.
Throughout her career, which includes over a decade spent with KPMG, Jenny has worked on R&D tax relief claims for some of the UK’s best-known innovators, ranging from big pharma companies to F1 teams and household FMCG brands.
Jenny was recommended to the HMRC-sponsored Research & Development Consultative Committee in 2013 and has actively contributed to numerous groups involved in the operation of R&D tax reliefs, R&D tax policy and the future of the incentive. She has worked with the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), Nesta’s Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre and the Confederation of British Industry in response to the government’s wide-ranging consultation on R&D tax reliefs.
She also helped to secure a significant victory for one of ForrestBrown’s clients in the first-tier tribunal, challenging HMRC’s interpretation of subsidised R&D expenditure.
Jenny is a regular author of technical articles, as well as contributing commentary on R&D tax in Tolley’s 2021 Finance Act Handbook and joining the judging panel for Tolley’s Taxation Awards 2022.
Passionate about raising professional standards for R&D tax advice, Jenny initiated a cross-industry working group that drafted the Professional Conduct in Relation to Tax (PCRT) guidance for R&D tax advice, led by the CIOT and the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT). This has been endorsed by all major UK accountancy and tax bodies and sets the standard for professionally qualified R&D tax advisers, which in turn ensures that UK businesses can access R&D tax relief with confidence.
Jenny brings insight from these high-profile roles to benefit ForrestBrown’s clients, helping businesses maximise the benefit of their investment in innovation while minimising risks to cashflow and reputation.
James Dudbridge LLB
- Leads our tax advisory practice.
- Solicitor specialising in corporate and personal tax.
- Over a decade of experience in tax law.
Expertise & specialisms
- Complex corporate structures, including international groups
- HMRC disputes including compliance checks and appeals
- UK tax law
James leads our tax advisory practice as well as client-facing teams in the R&D tax credit practice. He provides award-winning R&D tax relief expertise to businesses and accountants on a consultative basis. This can include risk assessing in-house claim methodologies, help with setting up or improving processes for identifying and recording R&D projects within a business, or support to resolve an enquiry through ForrestBrown’s specialist HMRC enquiry support service.
His extensive experience with HMRC allows him to provide an incisive legal perspective when deciding upon initial strategy and in pursuing the best possible outcome for clients. This has led to some ground-breaking results, including a landmark victory in a first-tier tribunal challenging HMRC’s interpretation of subsidised expenditure.
A solicitor who specialises in tax advice for corporates and individuals, with a focus on cross-border and international issues, James trained and qualified at a top London law firm before relocating to Geneva to help set up the firm’s Swiss office. On returning to the UK James worked in the tax team of a leading Bristol and London based law firm, before joining ForrestBrown in 2019.LL
Jayne Stokes ACA
- ACA qualified with years of experience.
- Former director at a Big Four firm, responsible for global mobility services in the Middle East.
- Advises innovative businesses on R&D tax reliefs.
Expertise & specialisms
Jayne is an experienced chartered accountant – both in the UK and overseas. She began her career at Deloitte in 2006 where she was based in the entrepreneurial business tax practice. There she studied for her ACA qualification.
In 2010 she moved to Dubai to help establish Deloitte’s international tax practice for the Middle East region. She managed a diverse portfolio of clients from, and investing into, the region: large multinationals, owner managed businesses, start-ups and freelancers. Over the course of ten years she oversaw the growth of Deloitte’s Iraq tax services, leading a team delivering across all aspects of corporate taxes, employee taxes and transactional and structuring work. Jayne also had overall responsibility for global mobility services in the Middle East.
Joining ForrestBrown in 2020, Jayne is part of our advisory practice. She supports innovative businesses in understanding how they can benefit from R&D tax credits and ensuring their claims are as robust as they can be.
Phil Smith CTA
Senior Tax Manager
- Qualified chartered tax adviser (CTA)
- Advised hundreds of businesses on R&D tax relief
- Provides a range of specialist R&D tax advice
Expertise & specialisms
- UK taxation
- Breaking down complex concepts
With a growing interest in innovation, Phil joined ForrestBrown in 2014 to work with our manufacturing and engineering clients. He trained at Cooper Parry in Nottingham and qualified as a chartered tax adviser in 2009. Phil then moved to Burton Sweet and later Hazlewoods, where he advised owner-managed businesses on personal and corporate taxation. He brings over a decade of experience to our team.
Senior Tax Specialist and ex-HMRC Inspector
- Provides strategic advice via our advisory and enquiry support services.
- Joined HMRC in 1984, specialising in R&D tax in 2006.
- Also shares his technical knowledge via our in-house training program.
Expertise & specialisms
- HMRC inspections
- UK taxation
- Training & development
Mark was one of the original tax inspectors assigned to the specialist HMRC R&D units when they were formed in 2006. And he worked in the Croydon unit until 2018. He helped companies use the incentive and ensured they followed the rules. The wealth of experience Mark accumulated is now delivered to ForrestBrown clients through our enquiry support service.
Having been at the tax authority since 1984, Mark actually specialised in HMRC enquiries long before his time at the R&D unit. In 1990, his principal role became conducting full enquiries into companies. This included those who had made honest technical errors and, in more serious cases, those suspected of committing tax avoidance or evasion.
Mark’s technical knowledge of the R&D tax credit legislation is vast and means his experience encompasses the broader tax landscape as well as HMRC’s enquiries processes. With this knowledge, Mark is well placed to provide expert advice on how best to resolve an enquiry.
In addition to his work in enquiry support, Mark contributes to our in-house development programme, the Learning Lab. By sharing his knowledge and experience he helps the next generation of tax professionals at ForrestBrown to thrive.
Find out about a typical day for Mark Andrew in our meet the expert series.
Tom Heslin MSc
- Leads our sector specialist team
- On the HMRC subcommittee that drafted software guidance for R&D tax relief
- Master’s in Medical Image Computing
Expertise & specialisms
- Machine learning
- Communication of highly technical R&D claims
- HMRC policy
Tom is a software expert at the cutting-edge of technical innovation and HMRC policy. One of our sector specialists at ForrestBrown, his knowledge and experience is invaluable in optimising software claims.
He sits on the HMRC subcommittee that issues software guidance for R&D tax relief. As such, the team utilises his extensive expertise to ensure we deliver robust and accurate advice to our clients.
With a master’s degree in Medical Image Computing from University College London, Tom has a deep understanding of image processing techniques. He can apply mathematical and statistical formulae to large datasets and machine learning.
On top of extensive experience in the R&D tax relief industry, Tom has held a range of technical positions spanning various industries. In e-learning he engineered tools to aid international broadcast of lectures. In medical technology he helped develop an online CBT tool to help manage unhealthy lifestyle habits.
Tom also uses his industry insight to improve the future of R&D tax reliefs for the software industry. Not only does he work with our clients to represent their views in response to R&D consultations, he also communicates key information to our clients on technical webinars and in key content such as his work in IT Pro Portal, Tech Monitor, SME Web and Business Leader publications.
A natural communicator, Tom is able to express highly technical R&D claims in a way that HMRC will appreciate. He is passionate about helping science and technology firms maximise their funding to drive innovation and breakthroughs.
Senior Tax Manager
- Qualified and practiced as a solicitor.
- Experience of managing HMRC enquiries ensures high quality submissions for our clients.
- 20 years’ experience with Big Four firms.
Expertise & specialisms
- Taxation in the UK, Hungary and Poland
- HMRC enquiries
After qualifying and practising as a solicitor, Anna accumulated more than 20 years’ experience within Big Four environments. She specialised in ex-pat tax and during this time developed a focus on managing HMRC enquiries for a variety of clients. At ForrestBrown, Anna is a senior member of our quality assurance team. She helps ensure that every R&D tax credit claim we submit meets our own high technical standards.
Peter Beavis PhD MSci CSci CChem MRSC MIMMM
Senior Sector Specialist
- Highly experienced materials scientist
- Background in food science, pharma and defence.
- Doctorate of organic chemistry
Expertise & specialisms
- Novel polymers and materials
- Food science
Peter’s experience ranges from getting a PhD and MSci in Chemistry and improving confectuary shelf-life to the invention of a patented elastomeric material for improved radiation stability.
His career started with a role as a chocolate scientist at Mars. That was followed by a move to the defence sector, where he finished a nine-year stint as a Senior Materials Scientist at the Atomic Weapons Establishment.
During that period, he authored numerous scientific papers and spoke at international conferences on the synthesis and characterisation of novel polymers and materials. With ForrestBrown, Peter has also been published in The Manufacturer, The Medicine Maker, Interplas Insights, and the Confectionery Production publications.
That scientific and technical capability allows him to quickly understand, challenge and assess clients’ work against the R&D tax credit guidelines. And, it’s seeing the projects companies are able to fund due to the value of their claims – and the excitement they have – that’s driving him.
At ForrestBrown, Peter provides expert peer-to-peer communication for our clients on their technical projects, helping to translate their work into reports for HMRC. Examples of his work include reviewing a claim prepared by a Big Four accountancy firm – and significantly increasing the value of R&D tax relief to their business.
Pete works with our network of associations in the food and drink sector, using his background at Mars as a chocolate scientist to help businesses identify their hidden R&D in this industry. Supporting the activities of our partnerships team, Pete speaks at events, networks with businesses and hosts webinars with industry partners to raise awareness of the value of working with ForrestBrown’s expert multi-disciplinary team to access this valuable incentive.
With an infectious passion for all things science and materials, you can talk to Peter about pharma, food and drink, materials (adhesives, polymers and manufacturing) and engineering sectors.
Our experience with HMRC
ForrestBrown’s team has many years of experience of working closely with HMRC, including helping to draft best practice guidance, dealing with them on day to day matters involving R&D claims, and working with their compliance team to resolve enquiries. We have a good working relationship and understanding of the information they need to accept an R&D tax relief claim, which allows us to have meaningful discussions to inform our approach to successfully resolving your enquiry.
Our director Jenny Tragner has been actively involved in shaping R&D tax policy for a number of years and brings the latest insights into HMRC’s approach and focus areas. Our former HMRC inspectors know what it’s like to be on the other side of the desk, helping to inform our strategy and the way we communicate with the HMRC compliance team. Our experts have a track record of defending enquiries, establishing quick and quality dialogue with inspectors.
Jenny Tragner CA ATT (Fellow) Director
We are best placed to advise you and resolve your enquiry because we know exactly what HMRC are looking for in support of R&D tax credit claims. Our policy-level insight means we understand what HMRC are asking you and why.
James Dudbridge LLB Director
Our ultimate goal is to protect your business and manage every aspect of the enquiry on your behalf so that you can focus your time on running your business.
An enquiry support client
ForrestBrown’s expert advice has put us in a much stronger position for future R&D tax credit claims. We are so impressed with the service we received that we’re now using ForrestBrown to prepare our claims too.
Donna Owens, Finance Controller, Linear Plastics
Having ForrestBrown in our corner made a big difference. Our enquiry was resolved quickly without distracting me from my day-to-day role. As a result, we retained our full benefit which was a relief as we’d already invested in new machinery.
Enquiry support case study
We learned a lot from the enquiry and can now go on to make future R&D tax credit claims with renewed confidence. ForrestBrown knows our business in-depth, and we’ve secured buy-in from our technical staff who are now keeping even better records in anticipation of our next claim.
Mike Camilleri, Finance Director, CMB
We have used ForrestBrown for a number of years now for our R&D tax credit claims. The professional way in which they always manage our claims is excellent and It’s a pleasure to deal with them.
Sector specific support
Every client I’ve referred has loved ForrestBrown’s way of working. It’s a great addition to Old Mill’s client service.
Aisha Perrott AAT CTA, R&D tax specialist, Old Mill
Martin Davis, Finance Director, Zenobe Energy
I can’t state how highly it was the right choice we came to you guys. It’s been a rare occasion that I’ve come across a firm that had mastery of their field comparable.
An enquiry support client
ForrestBrown provided us with the perfect mix of specialist sector and tax expertise when we needed it most. The team put at our disposal were truly expert, very responsive and professional.
Everything you need to know about HMRC R&D tax enquiries
Regardless of where you are in the enquiry process, you want information you can trust. Our experts have helped compile in-depth guidance to take you through the process. Follow the relevant links below to read more:
Once an outcome has been reached with your enquiry, it’s important to look to the future. The first R&D tax credit claim you submit after an enquiry is critical. HMRC will expect that any feedback they provided during the enquiry will be reflected in your next R&D tax relief claim. They do check and will open another enquiry if they believe that similar risks are present, or that feedback has been ignored. For example, if you agree with HMRC to reduce a particular cost, or exclude a particular type of project from your claim during an enquiry, they will check to see if you have carried that treatment forward into the next period. If not, expect further challenge and they may well be less sympathetic next time round.
At ForrestBrown, we can help you strengthen your future claims, including everything from record-keeping measures to methodology. This is particularly important if you have had a claim adjustment or suspended penalty. We also work hard to ensure you’re in the best position to utilise R&D tax relief within your business going forward.
Enquiry support service for accountants
Is your client facing an HMRC enquiry? ForrestBrown can provide advice and support, or actively manage the enquiry for you. Enhance your relationship with your client by partnering with the right specialist at the right time.
Often, a successful resolution to an HMRC enquiry on R&D tax relief involves a detailed technical understanding of the client’s R&D, as well as experience of dealing with the specialist HMRC caseworkers. Our specialist technical firepower covers both areas for complete peace of mind.
R&D tax enquiries almost always involve a detailed discussion of the R&D projects identified. They will cover whether those projects should attract relief, and if so, where the boundaries of the R&D work should be drawn in calculating the value of the claim.
Companies with genuine R&D can find themselves struggling to explain why their project qualifies. Our team of technical specialists can gather further information and draft written reports for HMRC in the format requested, or sit alongside your client’s competent professional on a call with HMRC. This support can be instrumental in resolving this fundamental part of the enquiry.
Strategy is another key area. Our team understand current HMRC practice, including which areas of potential risk are a current focus. If adjustments to an R&D claim are necessary to reach a resolution, how these are handled can have a material impact on whether HMRC seek penalties or look to discovery assessments into previous claims.