Planning as part of an R&D Tax Credits Project

Planning as part of an R&D Tax Credits Project

Background

Almost every R&D project requires some degree of planning prior to its commencement.
Sometimes these planning costs may be negligible and at other times planning will have been undertaken by external teams.
However, R&D planning is structured and financed within your company, it is important to understand how these activities should be treated within your R&D claim as they cannot necessarily be included within your claim.

BEIS Definition

"Scientific or technological planning activities associated with a project directly contribute to resolving the scientific or technological uncertainty associated with the project, and are therefore R&D. These include defining scientific or technological objectives, assessing scientific or technological feasibility, identifying particular scientific or technological uncertainties, estimating development time, schedule, and resources of the R&D, and high-level outlining of the scientific or technical work, as well as the detailed planning and management of the work."
"Elements of a company's planning activity relating to a project but not directly contributing to the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainty, such as identifying or researching market niches in which R&D might benefit a company, or examination of a project's financial, marketing, and legal aspects, fall outside the category of scientific or technological planning, and are therefore not R&D"

Analysis

As with other (non-QIA) activities, planning must contribute to the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainty to be included within the R&D claim. Most often we find that this means that companies need to apportion which costs should be included within the claim - stripping out all business and commercial activities (that are not typically linked to overcoming the project uncertainty)
Other planning activities that are not pre-defined QIAs and are not contributing to the scientific or technological aspects of the project (often because they occur before the scientific and technological problems have been identified) should also be excluded from the claim. For example, planning around the project's functional requirements.

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