Am I too late to claim R&D tax credits?

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If you have been carrying out development work on a new product or service in earlier years and have only just stumbled across R&D tax credits, you may be concerned  – thinking you may too late to make a claim…

The good news is that this may not be the case – as R&D tax claims can be filed retrospectively.

A claim for UK research and development tax credits is made within your company tax return. This is typically completed and filed shortly after your accounting period end alongside the preparation and filing of your company accounts.

What if I have already filed my company tax return for the period in which the R&D activities took place?

No problem – provided you are still within the permitted time limits (see further below) then you can file an amended return. This time the amended CT600 return will be filed including the claim for R&D tax relief.

How long is the permitted time limit for filing a retrospective claim for R&D tax credits?

A company can make a restrospective claim for R&D tax relief for the periods ending in the past two years.

As an example, at the time of writing this article (25 Feb 2015), a company with a 31 December year end would be eligible to make retrospective claims for R&D tax relief for the periods ended:

  • 31 December 2013 – time limit expires on 31 December 2015
  • 31 December 2014 – time limit expires on 31 December 2016

So it is still theoretically possible for a company to make a claim for R&D tax credits on a research and development project that was carried out way back in January 2013!

(For clarity, the time window for making a claim for enhanced R&D tax relief for the year ended 31 December 2012 would have expired on 31 December 2014.)

Don’t take this good news as a basis for “putting off” or delaying making your claim. There is still lots of work for us to do to help you maximise your claim and a last minute rush rarely helps!