R&D Tax Relief for Content Delivered Through Science or Technology

R&D Tax Relief for Content Delivered Through Science or Technology

Background

Many commercial projects 'use' or 'extend' existing science or technology. Whether or not such a project will qualify as R&D for Tax Purposes depends upon whether such a project is going further into improving the underlying science or technology itself, rather than the application to a functional problem.
The differentiation can be difficult, but after presenting the official guidance, we will attempt to clarify what types of project will qualify.

BEIS Definition

"Information or other content which is delivered through a scientific or technological medium is not of itself science or technology. However, improvements in scientific or technological means to create, manipulate and transfer information or other content can be scientific or technological advances, and resolving the scientific or technological uncertainty associated with such projects would therefore be R&D."

Software Example

It may be that your company is seeking to develop new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) capabilities by extending upon the capabilities of a major third-party technology.
In many cases, it will be a case of 'configuring' the ERP technology to the needs of your business. This may be done through the selection of options within the ERP system, or through the writing of 'code' within the ERP's own language. In this case it may be the case that the system is now able to support a new way of pricing engagement. The terminology used here would typically be seen by HMRC as a business advance, using the existing ERP technology.
Where the company is going further than this from a technical perspective and either writing new software wrappers or integrations around the technology to create new capabilities, but doing so without prior reference, this would potentially move the project into one which would qualify for R&D Tax Relief.
Remember that it is the company's competent professional/s that need to make the assessment, but before making an assessment, they need to need to clearly understand the difference between a scientific or technological advance and a (non-qualifying) business or functional advance.

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