In last month’s Budget, the Chancellor made the announcement that PAYE/NIC restrictions would be reintroduced to payable R&D tax credits for SMEs.
The changes – which are being positioned as an anti-fraud measure – will come into place on 1 April 2020, and will restrict the amount of payable tax credit a company can receive to three times its PAYE/NIC liability for that year.
It comes after HMRC announced that it has prevented £300m of fraudulent R&D claims.
Preventing fraud and the abuse of R&D tax credits is unquestionably a good thing. However, a potentially damaging consequence of these changes is that small start-ups who sub-contract work to agencies and have intentionally low payroll costs but high R&D expenditure will be hit as well.
It’s therefore reassuring to see that HMRC are giving time to consult on the changes to payable R&D tax credits, enabling the impact of unintentional consequences to be minimised.
It’s estimated that 95% of SMEs will remain unaffected by the changes. So for the most part companies shouldn’t be overly concerned about the changes.
The restrictions will only impact loss making companies that receive payable tax credits – those that receive a tax deduction will be unaffected.
It’s also positive to see that a 3 times limit of PAY/NIC has been put forward (instead of the one times limit previously implemented pre-2012).
If you think you might be affected by the changes announced in the Budget 2018, get in touch with our specialist R&D team at Haines Watts. You can read our full overview on all the changes announced in the Budget in our handy, PDF guide.
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