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After months of uncertainty, HMRC have provided further details on how they plan to tackle the long processing delays faced by companies claiming Research and Development (R&D) tax credits and R&D Expenditure Credits (RDEC).

Currently, some claims are taking over three times longer to be processed than the targeted 28 days. The recovery plan states that depending on a number of factors, the processing of R&D tax credit and RDEC claims should be up to date by 30th September 2019.

The recovery plan will give a sense of comfort to those who have submitted claims and are waiting for their tax credits, as well as those still to claim.

HMRC’s recovery plan

In order to bring both R&D tax credit and RDEC claims back into a 28 day turnaround period, HMRC will be taking the following steps:

  • Employing and training additional staff to handle the processing of R&D tax credits and RDEC claims
  • Moving claims processing to a wider pool of staff, including the Customer Services Group in order to meet seasonal fluctuations
  • Bringing R&D tax credits and RDEC claims together for quicker processing purposes

They’ve stated that there are a number of factors which will determine the success of the plan, including how soon staff can be trained to undertake the processing work and the volume of new claims being submitted.

Due to the rising popularity of R&D tax incentives, the number of claims has grown substantially over recent years.

What caused the delays?

The delays were caused by a combination of large staff losses and higher claim volumes than anticipated.

The lengthy delays have been felt across all industry sectors, with many relying on R&D tax credits to support their innovations. In particular, start-ups who are reliant on R&D tax relief as a form of inward investment.

According to the recovery plan, there should be significant improvements to processing over the next few weeks.

Haines Watts – R&D tax relief specialists

At Haines Watts, we specialise in taking care of your R&D claim, from the initial fact-finding to final submission.

Our dedicated, in-house R&D team will take the hassle of claiming off your hands, so you can focus on the things that matter. If R&D tax relief is causing you a headache, get in touch today to find out how we can help.

Want to know more? Call us on 0113 398 1100 or email

About the author

Jonathan Scott

Having joined Haines Watts as an apprentice, Jonathan quickly progressed through his AAT, ACA and CTA exams to become a Technical Tax Consultant. His success in specialist tax planning led to his promotion to Tax Partner in 2016, making him the youngest partner in the Haines Watts network to date. With a detailed understanding of tax planning, he provides tailored and proactive advice to clients to ensure they are structured in the most efficient way whether they are preparing for income tax returns; corporate re-organisations; company sales, mergers and acquisitions; inheritance tax or capital gains tax.

Jonathan has developed a particular specialism around research and development tax relief, advising clients how they can secure corporate tax credits through the development of innovative products and services.

Jonathan and his team have claimed back over £27m in R&D tax credits for innovative companies, as well as achieving a further £140m in total enhanced tax deduction. In this time, he’s worked with over 200 businesses, ranging from architects, digital agencies and engineers, to vets, manufacturers, and breweries.

Away from work, Jonathan – who was nominated for the Young Accountant of the Year in the 2015 North East Accountancy Awards – enjoys playing football and golf and walking his dog.

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