HMRC introduces pre-notification requirement for R&D claims: act now before it’s too late!

HMRC introduces pre-notification requirement for R&D claims: act now before it’s too late!

UK companies intending to make their first R&D claim, or their first claim in three years, now need to inform HMRC of that intent within six months of the end of their accounting period.

HMRC believes this new requirement will streamline the claims process, enhance compliance, and minimise errors and delays. Companies will now need to take the initiative to secure their R&D benefits, with earlier planning and capturing documentation and records to support R&D claims.

Key points:

  • If companies do not notify HMRC their R&D claim will be rejected.
  • Companies with a recent history of R&D claims do not need to notify HMRC.
  • The R&D submission filing deadline is unchanged, typically two years after the end of the accounting period.

For example, a company with an accounting period beginning 1 April 2023 must notify HMRC by 30 September 2024, and file the R&D submission by 31 March 2026.

While prenotification adds an added step to the claims process, it is straightforward and made via HMRC’s online portal. The notification includes details such as the company’s Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), the accounting period start and end date, who in the company is responsible for the R&D claim, and whether an agent is involved, together with a high-level summary of the planned activities.

This notification is part of a series of R&D changes introduced by HMRC, which includes last summer’s changes on the mandatory online filing of an Additional Information Form with R&D submissions. The rationale behind this change is twofold. Firstly, it enables HMRC to anticipate and more efficiently manage the increasing volume of R&D claims, thereby reducing processing times. Secondly, conducting preliminary reviews and addressing any discrepancies or issues pre-submission, offers HMRC an opportunity to enhance compliance. This should reduce the risk of erroneous or fraudulent claims, safeguarding the integrity of the system and taxpayer funds.

At Moore Kingston Smith, we have a specialist R&D team of experienced technical experts and tax professionals. We can help you navigate this and all the other changes to the R&D regime, such as the newly merged scheme. Our team guides companies through efficient claims preparation and presenting robust supporting information correctly to HMRC. We also help defend claims under enquiry by HMRC.

Whether you are preparing your next R&D submission, responding to a compliance check on an earlier submission, or would just like an independent, fresh perspective on what still is a generous incentive, contact us below.

Contributor

David Byrne

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