Expert advice worth millions

Generous tax credits are available to UK businesses undertaking research and development programmes, but without help many companies are not seeing the full benefit. It’s time that changed


Research and development (R&D) is a central tenet of government plans to promote innovation in British businesses. Through the tax system, it provides incentives to organisations that invest in developing new products and services.

The government sets aside around £1.5 billion every year which it distributes to businesses undertaking R&D and meeting certain criteria. Businesses can claim back up to 33 per cent of their R&D investment from the public purse, making this form of investment less risky and, if everything goes to plan, much more profitable.

But the system by which tax credits are allocated is changing all the time. In April, for example, new rules came into force increasing tax relief for smaller businesses. The tax relief on R&D costs is now 230 per cent, meaning that for every £100 of qualifying cost a business can apply to reduce its corporation tax bill by an additional £130 on top of the £100 expenditure.

In-profit businesses, based on the current corporation tax rate of 20 per cent, could receive a tax benefit of 26p per £1 of expenditure. Meanwhile, large companies can claim R&D tax relief or R&D expenditure credit, the latter equating to 8.8p per £1 spent.

This may sound complicated, but the terms of qualifying for R&D credits are only more so – it’s why a lot of companies struggle to see the full benefit.

Alma’s proven track record in the UK has many highlights, including nearly £100-million-worth of credits claimed for clients and a 100 per cent claim success rate

That’s where Alma Consulting Group comes in. Alma CG is a global specialist in R&D tax relief with offices across Europe and in Canada. It helps businesses find opportunities and make claims in full.

It has a highly skilled team of tax specialists, including experts from the “big four” accountancy firms and HM Revenue & Customs’ own R&D tax department. The business takes a relationship approach, meeting clients face-to-face and learning their business.

The team uses the information gained to compile a comprehensive claim report outlining the opportunities and explaining how to not only comply with procedures, but to file an optimised claim.

Alma’s proven track record in the UK has many highlights, including nearly £100-million-worth of credits claimed for clients to date and a 100 per cent claim success rate, with 98 per cent of submitted claim values being met by HMRC.

This combination of a hands-on approach and a track record of success that’s hard to beat, means Alma has a string of happy clients, ranging from one-man bands to large multinationals. One such client is a leading UK building and civil engineering firm, one of the largest and most experienced companies in its sector.

R&D forms an important part of this engineering firm’s business, from the early tendering process to the final stages of construction, as well as the technical and management capabilities that has won them contracts working on high-profile projects, such as the O2 Arena, Emirates Stadium and the Olympic Stadium.

Alma CG worked with this business to re-assess its 2012 R&D claim and identify an additional £10.5 million of qualifying R&D expenditure that had been missed by the previous R&D consultancy; while an even greater amount was found by Alma for its 2013 claim. Alma works this way with a host of other clients in a wide range of industries. The engineering firm in question said they were “astounded” by the uplift Alma achieved in their 2012 claim.

Perhaps Alma could give you a nice surprise too.