R&D Tax Incentives for Professional Firms

R&D tax incentives, designed to make the UK a more competitive place to do business, are available to a wide range of innovative businesses, not just technology and research focused companies.

By making a relatively straightforward R&D claim, a business can either reduce its tax bill or, in certain circumstances, make a claim to receive cash from HMRC.

How your firm can claim R&D incentives

As a rough guide, a firm can make an R&D claim if:

If all of the above are true, and the staff and contractor costs of the people involved in the software development are reflected in the limited company accounts, then the limited company may be able to benefit from R&D tax incentives.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

SMEs may be able to claim 130% additional tax relief over and above the normal tax relief available for R&D costs.

If the limited company makes a trading loss, then it may be able to surrender the amount of the loss that relates to the R&D spend, and the additional R&D tax relief, for a cash payment. The cash payment is currently 14.5% of the losses foregone – equivalent to £33.35 for every £100 R&D expenditure.

SMEs are limited companies where there are fewer than 500 employees and either an annual turnover of less than €100m, or a balance sheet total of less than €86m (including other entities in the firm’s structure and any other entities in which a 25% interest is held).

Large enterprises

If the SME size limits are exceeded then limited companies within a firm’s group structure, may be able to claim under the Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) scheme.

The RDEC is a taxable credit that can also be offset against the company’s corporation tax liability.

The RDEC rate depends upon when the R&D you are claiming for took place. The RDEC rate is:

For every £100 of R&D spend there is an overall reduction in tax liability of:

If the company has paid no tax, because it made tax losses, it may be able to make a claim at these rates.

How R&D claims benefit partners

As a result of a successful R&D claim, distributable reserves will increase, so a larger dividend can be paid to partners.

The additional dividend will be subject to dividend tax, the rate of which will depend on each partner’s marginal rate of tax, their total dividend income, and the amount of tax-free dividend allowance available.

For each £100 of R&D qualifying expenditure the net amount they will receive after dividend tax at 38.1% is:

If the dividend allowance is available, the net amount they will receive is:

How Crowe UK can help

Their specialist team have dealt with R&D claims for many years in a wide range of business sectors. Their advice is pragmatic and tailored to your needs.

Crowe UK can help you to maximise the available benefits by:

This article was originally published by Crowe UK on 05.07.18


The Ambassadors are a collective of business people in the Sandwell area with the aim of supporting the Sandwell Business Community.

Find out more


See below for the most frequently asked questions.

View FAQs

Contact us

If you want to find out more about the Ambassadors or how we can help you, please see below to get in touch.

Get in touch

Other news

  • Big Help Out and Volunteers’ Week: ‘bring a tin’ to help our communities

    Two national initiatives – the Big Help Out and Volunteers’...

    Read more
  • Ten business actions to support our planet this Earth Day

    Earth Day is a great opportunity for businesses to take action to support our planet.

    Read more
  • Join our Sandwell masterclass on the King’s Awards for Enterprise

    The Sandwell Business Ambassadors have long been advocates for the...

    Read more