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Haines Watts London Holborn Phone icon 0207 025 4650

If you invest heavily in developing or improving products, services and processes, you could be eligible for significant research and development tax credits. However, after analysing both the architectural and engineering sector, we’ve found that a large number of practices are still failing to claim back these tax credits. In some cases, this is leaving tens of thousands of pounds on the table, and here are the five most prevalent reasons why they’re still not being claimed:

  1.  “We will get round to doing it ourselves”

Working with an accounting firm to claim your tax credits is not your only option: firms can absolutely do the research and claim them on their own. The official HMRC website contains information and guidance on how to do so. However, the nature of running a business is that firms too often put this task on the back burner and it never ends up getting done. Even if a firm does put in their claim, it will likely be rushed because they are busy trying to keep up with the daily demands of clients. What this means is that, even if a business does do it themselves, they rarely claim the full value of their applicable credits.

  1. “We are too busy to collect the information”

Yes, whenever you personally submit a claim for tax credits, it’s best to have some involvement from the company’s partners and directors. However, it is these individuals who are usually busiest and so are always able to say they don’t have enough time to collect the information. It’s important to be aware that, by offloading this task to an external accounting firm, they can handle most of the legwork and the directors have very little they’d need to do.

  1. “The work needed to claim the credits isn’t worth it”

Well, this all depends on the nature of your business and how much you invest in the future of your company. In many cases, we’ve found that firms are forgoing tens of thousands and sometimes even hundreds of thousands of pounds by not claiming their tax credits. So really, the work put in to claim these back could see vast returns on your time.

  1. “We’re concerned about doing something unethical”

To be clear, there’s absolutely nothing unethical about claiming back tax credits. It is in no way tax avoidance. Instead, it is a scheme the government actively want firms to partake in, in order to boost R&D across the UK.

  1. “What’s the point? We likely won’t be eligible”

Once again, you won’t know if this is true unless you take the time to submit a claim. R&D tax credits are applicable to a wide variety of different business activities and we often find firms are surprised by just how much they can claim back.

Here at Haines Watts, we are proud to offer an accountants for architects and engineers service that has a contingent fee approach. What this means is that the fee our firm takes for filing a successful claim is linked very closely to the actual final sum you receive from the government. We also offer a 100% no obligation consultation to assess your suitability and to decide whether or not it is worth taking the time to proceed with a claim.

Our dedicated R&D tax credits team are always looking for more UK-based businesses to support. If you are a part of an engineering or architectural firm who’d like to find out more and see if you are eligible for R&D tax credits, simply contact our team today.

Want to know more? Call us on 0207 025 4650 or email

About the author

Alex Shall

Alex acts for established owner-managed businesses principally in the creative sector which include architecture, consulting, design, new media and software development. He has supported international groups with connections to the USA, Italy, France, Cyprus, Hong Kong and China and is well versed in the complexities of supporting business owners with global interests. His work has included raising finance and acquisition advice, succession planning, tax structuring and evaluating and implementing accounting and reporting systems, including cloud solutions.


I like being there to help clients though each phase of their businesses’ life cycle. Working with so many professional practices means that at any one time I am simultaneously helping some start their first business, helping others manage steady growth, working with others to overcome the inevitable bumps in the road and finally helping plan profitable successions or sales.

If I wasn't doing this I'd be: a lawyer. They seem to have more fun.

Favourite Book: 1984

Dream Location: on a boat in the Aegean.

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