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At the end of the month I will part of the Haines Watts team exhibiting at the Advanced Engineering show in Birmingham. We will be there to talk to exhibitors and visitors about maximising R&D tax relief and other business opportunities but I’m also very excited about seeing the latest technology from the most exciting and innovative businesses in the country.

You don’t have to have a background in engineering to appreciate the skill, drive and pioneering spirit that goes into developing new products or processes and, as a specialist in R&D tax, they’re the qualities I see in my clients every day. These visionary business owners are key to a healthy economy – upskilling the workforce, advancing technology, forging new markets – but innovation comes with financial risks. The introduction of generous R&D tax relief was the Government’s way of recognising and rewarding the contribution of these risk-takers.

It’s important to highlight that R&D tax relief can apply to any sector as long as the business can demonstrate that part of its activity seeks to attain appreciable improvement to products, services or processes. I have submitted claims for businesses as diverse as solicitors and laundries, and the nature of the qualifying activity is equally broad. Take a look at our website for flavour of what’s eligible or download our guide.

R&D tax relief is potentially very lucrative but there are still a great many businesses who are unaware they can claim and, at the risk of upsetting my fellow professionals, a great many accountants who are failing to advise them of their entitlement.

The common misconception about R&D tax relief is perhaps understandable in sectors which are not considered ground-breaking or technological but in engineering, eligibility should be more obvious. And yet there will be many entitled businesses at the Advanced Engineering show who are not making a claim, who are not claiming enough or who haven’t even heard of R&D tax relief. My job is to find them and point them in the right direction.


Visit Haines Watts at stand K104.

About the author

Sophie Powell

Sophie joined Haines Watts in February 2017. She qualified as a Certified Accountant in 2005 and has over 18 years’ experience working in local and national practices. She has experience in a wide range of accountancy and taxation services.

As a Manager in the specialist R&D Tax Team at Haines Watts Hereford, Sophie helps companies to identify qualifying expenditure for R&D tax relief and drafts claims submissions for HMRC.

Sophie lives in Hereford with her husband and two sons. She is an avid film fan and enjoys spending her spare time with friends and family.

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