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HMRC have responded to the Chartered Institute of Taxation’s (CIOT) letter in June asking for a clarification on the lengthy delays to the processing of R&D tax relief claims.

The delays have been a burden to the many SMEs who rely on R&D tax credits to facilitate their business finances.

Reasons for the delays

HMRC have said that the reason for the delays has been caused by ‘recent staff losses’ and the ‘extremely high volumes of claims’ being submitted. To combat the delays and help mitigate the processing times, HMRC has deployed staff from other areas.

In terms of communicating turnaround times more clearly, HMRC has responded saying that it will continue to keep agents updated through the weekly update email to RDCC members. This also includes ‘auto-response’ messages to emails sent to the R&D mailbox to inform customers who enquire.

HMRC have noted that some R&D claims are being processed ahead of others. They’ve said this is due to the training requirements for new recruits to the team who will help to maintain a ‘fair’ and ‘steady balance’ to the current claim process.

Current processing times (as of 9 July)

R&D tax credits
Claims submitted on 4 April 2019
Processing time: 95 days

RDEC claims
Claims submitted on 20 December 2018
Processing time: 200 days

Haines Watts R&D tax specialists

Our expert R&D team are ready to handle your R&D claims, taking the hassle of dealing with the process out of your hands. Simply sit back, focus on what matters to you and your business, and let us deal with the claim for you. Get in touch today to find out how we can help with all your business enquires.

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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