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Do you want to offer R&D tax services to your clients? Don’t go it alone!

Author: Tom Mason

With recent changes that streamline R&D tax credits culminating in a merging of the SME and R&D Expenditure Credit (EDEC) schemes, this financial year looks set to be a prudent time to consider what your firm can offer to clients through R&D tax services.

If you have ever considered expanding your tax practice into the R&D relief space, it’s likely that you’ve reflected on the expertise you will need and how you can bring this into your practice.

While providing this expertise in-house may seem the obvious solution, the alternative presents a number of options which can enhance the flexibility and support you can offer to your clients.

This is our perspective on the benefits of partnering with a specialist R&D firm ahead of our upcoming ‘R&D Updates’ webinar, 23 April.

What can R&D specialists do for you?

They complement your own tax experts they don’t compete with you.

From your own practice, you’ll know that certain areas of tax and tax reliefs are particularly complex and are targets of frequent investigations by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

R&D tax relief certainly comes into this category, complicated by a recent HMRC crackdown on non-compliance and the burden of proof relating to the definition of qualifying R&D activity.

Therefore, if you do decide to seize the opportunity and offer R&D advice and support to clients, it is important that you retain the right expertise to protect your clients and the reputation of your practice.

Outsourcing your R&D offering can offer a number of significant benefits, including:

  • Cost reduction – In order to offer your clients the level of support they need to claim R&D tax relief, you may need to take on at least one full-time expert which can be significantly costly, but outsourcing this work allows you to engage R&D experts on an as-needed basis.
  • Risk reduction – R&D tax relief is complex and currently receiving scrutiny from tax authorities, which means a mistake could carry significant risk to you and your client, but this can be avoided with dedicated expertise.
  • Access to expertise – Our services can be tailored to the specific needs of you and your client, whenever you need us.
  • Scalability – As your R&D offering grows, an outsourced service can help you to support more clients and submit more claims without the need for you to take on additional members of staff.

Ultimately, outsourcing your R&D tax work to a specialist firm is about providing your clients with an end-to-end service with the best and most adaptable expertise.

Building the partnership

When accountancy firms consider setting up an R&D practice and relying on external specialists for support, it is understandable that this partnership can be a cause for concern and particular focus.

Building this relationship and defining its parameters is essential to productive collaboration and a successful R&D tax claim.

We find that getting to know the firm and its tax team is what underpins the success of the relationship, perhaps even more so than understanding the needs of individual businesses submitting claims.

By approaching the relationship in this way, we achieve streamlined working processes which prioritise:

  • Sector-specific knowledge
  • Growth plans for each practice’s R&D offering
  • Leveraging existing expertise within each practice

Sourcing the right level of R&D expertise is the first and most important step in developing a successful R&D tax offering.

At a time of change for the sector, we encourage any accountancy firm considering setting up an R&D offering to rise to challenge in partnership with an expert advisory service.

randd uk is a specialist R&D tax advisory service. To find out how we can help you get your R&D offering started, sign up to our next quarterly webinar here.