How to File R&D Tax Credits Yourself


This may be a surprising article to read on an R&D Tax Credits specialist’s website, but at GrantTree, we believe that everyone should have access to the knowledge of how to file R&D Tax Credits – even if you don’t choose to file with us!

You may have already read up on which companies can claim R&D Tax Credits, so if you are filing yourself, the two components you need to be aware of are 1) the technical narrative and 2) the financials.

The Technical Narrative.

As mentioned in previous posts, HMRC is after proof that your work solved technical uncertainty. The technical narrative is your chance to demonstrate, in layman’s terms, exactly what work was undertaken, along with any challenges you faced along the way. A tip – the more challenging a project was, the more likely it is that it had a bigger degree of uncertainty. Even if your project failed, you may still be able to claim the costs back! There are many nuances in writing a solid technical narrative which are beyond the scope of this article but the bottom line is that this is your chance to shout about what you did, why you did it and (most importantly) how you did it. Here’s more info on qualifying projects.

The Financials.

The calculations are the second section you have to present to HMRC in your R&D Tax Credit claim. These are where you will collate and present your headline figure (or in other words, your qualifying R&D expenditure) so that HMRC can assess your workings. The three main sections within the calculations consist of labour (i.e. people on direct payroll involved in R&D), subcontractors (i.e. any external suppliers who performed R&D-related tasks) and consumables (i.e. any software licenses or prototype materials consumed in the R&D process). As always with HMRC, there are many costs which are open to interpretation (from both HMRC and the company claiming) so if you are in doubt, it is better to go with a specialist who will know whether or not costs are qualifying.

Finally, the end result is to input your headline figure into your CT600 (the form which, along with your Corporation Tax computations) makes up your Tax Return. Amending your CT600 is a complex process and if you are not sure – we would urge you to seek someone who knows their stuff (your accountant – who may charge you – or an R&D Tax Credits specialist).

On the highest level, that’s all there is to filing tax credits. Of course, in practice there are hundreds of little quirks that can catch you out such as if you should surrender your losses, so if any of the above points sound confusing to you, it may be better to get in touch with an R&D specialist to ensure you are not over (or under!) claiming.

The value of using a specialist like GrantTree is not that we know some special secrets that no one else knows – it’s that we are experts at every aspect of the process and can deliver it better, faster, and probably cheaper than you, enabling you to get back to what you should be spending your time doing: running and growing your business.

If you are curious about R&D Tax Credits, Innovation Grants and Open Culture