Chris Knott
1 April '20

3 minute read

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The 1st April 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the introduction of the R&D tax relief regime in the UK. Having been involved in the scheme since that first day, I’ve seen a huge amount of changes in the scheme, what you can claim for and how it’s administered. Back then, the SME uplift rate was just 50%, compared to the 130% we have today and there was no scheme at all for large companies, who only joined the party in 2002!

Some rules have come and gone, some have stayed but been amended. IP ownership requirement, de minimis limits, agency staff (EPWs), consumable stores, consumable items, software licences, raising the criteria limits on SME status, the DTI (later BIS, and now the BEIS) guidelines, the opening of the specialist HMRC R&D offices (not until 2006), the large company regime changing to the R&D Expenditure Credit in 2013. The list goes on; it’s been an interesting ride!

The regime has always been a massive help to UK business and I have always loved hearing the stories of what the benefits have allowed our clients to do (from additional staff to new machines and premises)


I’ve never seen anything like the current circumstances. The times we face right now are unlike anything we’ve all had to deal with (even in 2008). Companies will need to be maximising cashflow more than ever. As part of the announcement this week of the £330bn package to help business, “tax reliefs” were mentioned and R&D clearly falls squarely within that.

Our message is a simple one; we’re here to help, we’re still open for business. We’re working from home, juggling childcare and ensuring our relatives are ok (older and more vulnerable ones especially) but we’re available to help. We’re already lobbying HMRC hard regarding processing and payment times and pushing to get those reduced to as short a timeframe as possible. The stories may change as to what the money will be used for and they may be far more straightforward, in terms of salaries or simply keeping the lights on, but that makes them even more important in the current climate. We’ll keep doing all we can to ensure as many businesses as possible continue to be around to tell those stories.

If you want anymore information please get in touch with Chris Knott.