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What can we do to speed up R&D claim?

HMRC R&D unit is currently processing claims received on 29/03/19, 76 day turnaround, target is 28.

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HMRC R&D unit is currently processing claims received on 29/03/19, ie a 76 day turnaround. Their target is 28. Is there anything we can do about this, individually or collectively? Last year our claim was repaid in 50 days

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By Jdopus
14th Jun 2019 08:25

Not really, it's likely because HMRC shifted their staff over to cover the [***]-up they made of MTD. Unfortunately we always end up suffering the consequences of HMRC's incompetence.

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By TomE
20th Jun 2019 10:44

In future I would suggest avoiding the submission of your R&D claim/CT return in the week leading up the 31 March. We've had clients where claims were submitted in the week preceding this which were processed within 28 days, whereas clients which left this to the last week are still waiting. The reason is due to the vast majority of companies with a 31 March year-end and leaving the CT return submissions to the last minute.

I've also heard that claims submitted through HMRC's 'new' portal for R&D are processed quicker, though I haven't experienced this myself yet. Details of how to do this can be found towards the end of this link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/corporation-tax-research-and-development-tax...

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20th Jun 2019 11:00

In short, no.

The same situation applies to claims to any of the Creative Tax Reliefs. Previously, HMRC were turning claims around within their 4-week target but are currently taking up to 13 weeks from receipt to payment. R&D Tax Reliefs and Creative Tax Reliefs are, for the most part, dealt with by the same team.

My understanding is that the delays are due to an increase in the volume of claims, staffing issues, a re-organisation and a change to payment processes.
Also, HMRC has belatedly realised that a lot of R&D claims that could kindly be described as borderline were being paid and have taken on circa 20 HO’s to address this issue. It will take time to bed these new HO’s in and when they are, an increasing number of claims will be reviewed and likely suffer an element of delay. This could be the new normal.

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21st Jun 2019 15:12

Jeremy McDonagh wrote:

HMRC R&D unit is currently processing claims received on 29/03/19, ie a 76 day turnaround. Their target is 28. Is there anything we can do about this, individually or collectively? Last year our claim was repaid in 50 days

Have you received anything yet? We are also waiting on a few claims submitted on 27/3/ and 29/3. As mentioned on here already, it seems to be the norm now that claims will be taking 13-14 weeks from receipt to payment. HMRC have been processing claims made on 29/3 since June 3rd.

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21st Jun 2019 16:20

I do think that anyone that submits an R&D or Creative Tax Relief claim will have to get used to the process taking longer as well as there being a greater risk of enquiry (particularly for R&D). Whilst this isn’t ideal, it’s better to be aware and advise clients accordingly. It may be that R&D claims submitted through HMRC’s new portal are processed more quickly so I’d definitely give that a go. It’s possible that HMRC will gives those claims a lighter touch as they clearly want people to use the new process. From HMRC’s perspective, it’s (mostly) about managing an increased workflow with no increase in resource which is probably the reason for the changes announced in the recent Agent’s Update regarding claims to R&D and Creative Tax Reliefs made via amendment.

I worked with HMRC’s Incentives and Reliefs Team for 4 years as a Lead Tax Specialist for the Creative Tax Reliefs before deciding I’d have much more fun working for myself (https://www.creativetaxreliefs.com/) and I do have sympathy for my former colleagues. They do take the 28-day turnaround target seriously and won’t be happy that they are missing this so badly. No doubt they will also be under a great deal of pressure to do better.

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By Connie1
03rd Jul 2019 14:03

We are having the same issue. Apparently they are opening an enquiry into our client's R&D claim, and advised on 15 May that we would receive a letter within 14 days. As as today, still waiting. Client is going spare as needs the cash and wonders why we're not doing more to resolve the issue. However every time we call we get the answerphone and no-one ever responds to messages left on it!
Does anyone happen to know to know any alternative phone numbers or the best address to write to? The only course of action left, if only to satisfy the client that we are doing everything we can, seems to be an official complaint.

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03rd Jul 2019 14:49

Bizarrely I've just had a client paid out within 30 days.

Claim was done by a third party firm, submitted on 31 May, and repayment received last week.

Yet one we submitted back in April has still not been dealt with and they say they are dealing with claims from early April.

Nice to see a level of consistency from HMRC.

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By Dib
03rd Jul 2019 16:57

Went on a course last week and the latest is that SME claims are taking up to 3 months and RDECs up to 6 months!

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04th Jul 2019 16:10

Thanks for these replies. I think for our next claim we will try the R & D portal. Has anyone definite experience of a quicker turnaround from this?
Fortunately, we can see some action on the Corporation Tax online for our client, indicating that the claim (submitted 08/04/2019)has been processed although the repayment does not show as being issued yet.
Their recorded reply says they are still processing claims received on 02/04/19, so perhaps they are speeding up?

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By gordonb
04th Jul 2019 17:58

R&D claim submitted 29th April spoke with HMRC early June and was told claims were taking 4 months so should not call back until 29th August. 26th June claim shows on account but as yet no payment has been made. As others have said there is no consistency and trying to provide accurate updates to clients is a real challenge

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04th Jul 2019 22:59

We have just received a clients payment for a claim submitted 27.3.19. It sat in the security checks for 3 weeks after it was approved. Still waiting on another submitted 29.3.19 which was meant to have passed the security checks last week but no sign of that yet. I think this may be the norm until they smooth out MTD and Brexit, at least.

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