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Advisors need to grapple with 4 different R&D schemes come 1 April 2024

20th Mar 2024
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R&D tax relief training and support

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The new R&D Schemes are designed to make things easier on businesses and R&D advisors, but you'll still have to wrestle with the SME and RDEC Schemes.

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The Merged R&D Scheme applies to accounting periods beginning on or after 1 April 2024, but the old SME and RDEC schemes will still be applicable for accounting periods that started before then. And don’t forget the R&D Intensive Scheme (now called the ‘enhanced R&D intensive support scheme’ or ‘ERIS’), which is now available for expenditure from 1 April 2023 – but only to loss-making SMEs that spend a lot on R&D.

Even for R&D advisors and accountants who have been preparing R&D claims for years, all this is a lot to handle. It certainly adds an extra layer of complexity to what is already a tumultuous time for the industry. 

It’s true that the new schemes do simplify things (at least in theory), and many areas that caused confusion before are now clearer. Subcontracting and Grants and Subsidies are the two main areas that HMRC has worked hard to simplify – with mixed results. 

To help you get up to speed on the new, merged scheme, we’ve created a helpful, free course that covers its most important changes – An Advisor’s Essential Guide to the Merged R&D Scheme

Don’t just take our word for it, some of our members have already taken the course:

I found the merged scheme course extremely insightful, and it gave me the opportunity to test my understanding of the changes with short quizzes. The course simplifies the guidance released by HMRC and is easy to understand. I would recommend the course to all advisors/accountants.

HMRC’s lack of practical guidance highlighted by House of Lords

Before the budget on March 6th, you might have heard rumblings that the new R&D schemes were going to be pushed back. The House of Lords thought they should be, stating in their report that HMRC should delay the roll-out by a year. They were concerned about the lack of practical guidance that would help advisors and accountants get to grips with the changes.

While HMRC has just issued new guidance, you might be feeling the same way; communication and structure from HMRC has been lacking. That’s why we work so hard to provide practical, concise resources that can help you get up to speed and provide the best possible advice to your clients. We also do our best to sign-post the best resources to help you deliver a great R&D service. 

For example, it’s worth checking out HMRC’s new Guidelines for Compliance. These were published late last year and elaborate on the central ideas of R&D tax relief, like eligibility, Competent Professionals and documentation requirements.

These Guidelines are a powerful tool for R&D advisors – if you know how to use them. Not only do they clearly define important concepts and processes, they also include detailed examples of how the guidance can be applied in practice. These examples can help improve your understanding and knowledge of the field and serve as a practical tool for your reports. Because they’re HMRC’s own materials, you can use the examples to illustrate how the work qualifies for relief.

We recently published an article, How to Build stronger Claims Using GfC3, that demonstrates how you can use the guidelines to construct claims that stand up to HMRC’s scrutiny.

Combining the recommendations of GfC3 with our training courses is a great way to make sure that your R&D process is as robust as possible. If you’re concerned about your ability to keep up with R&D tax relief, don’t worry, you don’t need to do this on your own! We can provide you with a whole heap of training and support that’s specifically designed to help you deliver the best possible R&D service to your clients and weather the current storm with HMRC.