Claims for research and development (R&D) tax relief have soared in recent years, reaching £3.7bn in 2015-16, an increase of 25% from the previous year, while so far £3.5bn has been claimed for 2016-17, according to the latest statistics from HMRC
HMRC says there have been 39,960 R&D tax credit claims for 2016-17 to date, of which 34,060 are in the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) R&D scheme and 5,900 in the research and development expenditure credit (RDEC) scheme used by large companies. This is based on partial data for the year and is expected to increase as more returns are received.
The increase in the number of SME claims in recent years is likely to reflect the effect of changes made to the SME scheme from April 2012 onwards. HMRC has said that the removal of the requirement for a minimum R&D expenditure of £10,000 has meant that more companies are eligible to apply for the relief.
The tax authority reports it has identified additional information on claims made for 2014-15 and 2015-16, resulting in substantial upward revisions to the number and value of claims reported for those years.