What Should I Look For When Partnering With A New R&D Tax Relief Advisor

15th Nov 2019
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For forward-thinking companies keen to innovate, R&D Tax Credits offer a vital extra source of finance. Getting an application right can mean a massive financial boost for your client, but getting it wrong can be a financial disaster. For this reason, as your client’s business accountant it’s so important you’re confident in every aspect of R&D tax relief legislation and how to apply it. This is where we come in; we only deal with R&D tax relief and nothing else, so by working alongside us we’ll partner you in offering the holistic service your clients need. Plus of course it frees you up to get on with the day job.

But how do you choose an R&D expert team to help you? What should you look out for? Here we take a look.

1.  Assess your potential adviser’s experience of the tax industry

The R&D Tax Credit scheme is a tax incentive offered by HMRC - and as you’ll well know, tax reliefs can be a complex topic. HMRC expects R&D tax advisers to understand its tax legislation inside out, so a good starting point is in making sure your R&D tax adviser is expertly proficient in this area. Do they have the expertise in-house to submit your client’s CT600, or is that for you to sort out? Don’t forget as well that R&D Tax Credits can have an effect on things like grants too, which is why a broad understanding of the client’s financial landscape is also very relevant.

Our large, highly skilled team is made up of chartered accountants, tax advisors and specialists in the R&D sector. We have many years’ experience and take our work very seriously so with Myriad Associates you know you’re in a safe pair of hands.

2.  How often do they deal with R&D tax relief claims?

As a well-established business accountant you’ll already have a broad tax knowledge and be skilled in delivering your client’s general accounting requirements. But R&D tax relief is a detailed and complex area, so you need to feel confident that the R&D tax advisor you partner with has dealt with large numbers of claims already - so ask them how many they have submitted (in our case it is literally thousands).

This previous experience is crucial in making sure claims are correct. For instance, does the adviser you’re considering know what evidence is required to justify the claim? If it’s not compiled correctly, your client could be at risk of an HMRC investigation. Also, does the adviser know how to spot all of the different facets of your client’s R&D work, and what activities and expenses can be included? Get this wrong and it’s very likely your client will under-claim. We’ve seen this happen many times, and often results in companies missing out on very large sums of money without even realising it.

3.  What is the process that the R&D adviser will follow?

Look carefully at exactly what a prospective adviser will do, as you’ll likely find no two advisers are the same. A fully comprehensive service will maximise the chances of a successful claim in the eyes of HMRC, whilst minimising the work required by you and your client. Generally speaking, the process should start with a meeting, followed by a site visit to witness the client’s R&D work “in the flesh”. They will then prepare the claim (building in some form of quality assurance) before reviewing the documentation and submitting the application in full.

4.  How much time will you need to invest yourself?

Sounds a bit odd but this isn’t actually about you, it’s about the adviser you choose. This is because different R&D tax relief advisers offer differing services, with some investing a lot of their own time and energy into your client’s claim, and others, well, not so much. Some (like us) will want to know every detail about your client’s R&D projects and will handle a fully detailed, accurate claim. Others will try to get away with the bear minimum, by simply reviewing forms and documents that you have been expected to put together yourself. This might seem like the cheaper option, but consider this - how much is my time really worth? The onus is all on you, and there will be minimal help or guidance. We don’t believe in working that way. And while we’re at it, be very careful of advisers who effectively exclude you and/or your client from the claims process by not spending time with you. Ultimately, it’s down to you and your client to take responsibility for an R&D tax relief claim’s validity. This means it’s essential that you are aware of what’s being included, and that you and your client agree with it.

5.  Compare the rules of engagement

This is another way in which R&D tax credit advisers can vary massively in what they offer. We’ve seen it before plenty of times - the headline offer looks great, but scratch the service and you’ll find all sorts of fees, charges and extras. A particular favourite by the way is charging for the handling of any HMRC questions or enquiries. The costs (and stress levels) involved here can climb very high, very quickly, so take note.

Also watch out for any pressure to tie you into a contract that’s long-term. After all, why would they do this if they’re confident you’ll be satisfied with their service? Surely if they’re worth their salt you’d want to use them again of your own free will - no long-term contract required? Obviously there will be a contract to sign for short-term work once you’ve decided who to use, but make sure it’s one you can get out of easily after year one if necessary. The last thing you want to feel is trapped if things go awry; it’s an uncomfortable situation that’s best avoided.

At Myriad Associates our pricing is fair and up front and great value for money. We put customer service at the heart of everything you do, and offer a clear, transparent service to all.

Talk to us at Myriad Associates

Are you a business accountant looking to assist a client with an R&D tax relief claim? We’re here to help. If you have any questions about the issues raised in this article or need further advice on anything related to R&D, please feel free to contact Myriad Associates on 0207 118 6045  or use our contact page. We’ll be pleased to work alongside you for as long as you need us.