HMRC clamps down on fraudulent R&D claims

14 December 2020 / Insight posted in Articles

If you have claimed R&D relief or are in the process of claiming, you need to read this.

R&D tax relief is a red-hot topic for HMRC right now. HMRC estimates that in excess of £300 million was incorrectly claimed in 2018-19 (HMRC Annual Report and Accounts 2019 to 2020). As a consequence, HMRC is recruiting 100 investigators to police claims and identify fraud, following the successful prosecution of three fraudsters who attempted to steal £29 million from HMRC.

It is actually possible to make an R&D relief claim without knowing that it was incorrect. While most claims are made by tax specialists, ultimately the onus is on you, the claimant, to ensure that the claim is correct. We have a proven track record of making successful claims for our clients and have a deep understanding of how HMRC conducts their compliance checks and enquiries. We can give you peace of mind that your R&D claim is in order…assuming that it is!

The best approach

There is anecdotal evidence that rogue advisers are offering to handle R&D claims. If you suspect anything bogus, call us. Moore Kingston Smith has an integrated service combining R&D savvy with HMRC dispute resolution expertise.

We first and foremost check that your business activities qualify for R&D relief before we make a claim for you. We are experienced in making R&D claims and appreciate what to include in your report. If HMRC were to check your claim, we can justify the activities qualifying. Getting it right first time minimises the risk of an enquiry into your claim and ensures that you receive payment as quickly as possible.

We are also ideally placed to review any claims that you have already made to verify their accuracy. If there are any concerns, our dispute resolution specialists can discuss with you how to best resolve the matter with HMRC. Our experts have previously worked at HMRC in the compliance arena so know first-hand how HMRC undertakes its compliance checks and how to deal with them.

Acting early is key

If it turns out your business has made a claim that was incorrect, declaring it sooner rather than later is key to avoiding penalties. HMRC makes it clear that if they prompt you to sort the matter out, they will charge you higher tax-geared penalties.

If you are concerned that your company has made a claim and have even the slightest niggling doubt about the validity of the R&D claim, contact us now. The earlier you address queries, the better the outcome.

Choosing the right adviser is crucial. If you applied through an independent adviser, it is still your organisation’s responsibility to get your calculations right.

Getting help from the experts

Moore Kingston Smith is regulated by Chartered Institute of Taxation so all our practitioners adhere to its Professional Conduct in Relation to Taxation. Accessing R&D relief that you are legitimately entitled to is complicated so it’s worth putting the effort in now to avoid any kind of HMRC investigation later.

Call us for an initial no-obligation chat about your individual situation and we can take it from there.

Contact us