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Substantial delays are being experienced by companies claiming for R&D tax credits, with some claims taking over three times longer to be processed than the 28 days pledged by HMRC.

This delay is hampering many companies who rely on the tax incentive as a means of financially supporting their innovation. In particular, smaller start-ups who are reliant on R&D tax relief as a form of inward investment.

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) has since written a letter to HMRC, expressing their concern over the processing times and its potential impact on businesses.

Current processing times (as of 24 June)

R&D tax credits
Claim submitted: 29th March 2019
Processing time: 87 days

Claim submitted: 20th December 2018
Processing time: 186 days

What’s causing the delays?

The current lack of resources within HMRC’s R&D processing unit is being speculated as a cause. The CIOT has asked HMRC to explain the current delays, but they have yet to respond. They have also asked how the delays are going to be resolved, suggesting it would be beneficial to manage expectations by providing an indication of the expected turnaround of claims.

The delays are also causing communication between HMRC, advisors and taxpayers to be hindered, with large numbers of businesses chasing HMRC as to the status of their R&D claim.

Haines Watts R&D tax specialists

At Haines Watts, our specialist R&D team can take the hassle of claiming R&D tax relief off your hands. Our team will handle all correspondence with HMRC on your behalf, so you have more time to work on the things that really matter. Get in touch today to find out how we can help with your R&D claim.


Want to know more? Call us on 0191 2699 960 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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