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R&D tax credits

What are R&D tax credits?

In the UK companies are able to claim tax relief for their R&D activity. These government schemes are designed to boost innovation by supporting businesses who seek to improve or overcome challenges and uncertainties in their products and processes. These schemes are administered by HMRC.

For expenditure incurred on or after 1 April 2023 the new rates announced in the Autumn Statement 2022 now apply.

Which R&D tax credit scheme is right for me?

With the SME R&D tax credit scheme you can currently claim tax relief of up to 33% on your qualifying R&D expenditure incurred up to 31 March 2023. After this new rates will apply.

SME | R&D tax relief

SME R&D tax relief scheme

The Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) rate has increased over the years, companies can get over 10% of their R&D expenditure incurred up to 31 March 2023 refunded. Then this will increase up to 15%.

Large company | RDEC

RDEC scheme

Deciding which scheme to use is largely dependent on the size of your business, but there are other factors that need to be taken into account.

Not sure which R&D tax credits scheme to use?

Use our interactive decision tree to find out which scheme is the best fit for your business*.
It only takes a few seconds.

Question: How many people does your business employ?

Question: What is your annual turnover?

Question: What is the value of your balance sheet assets?

Question: Is your R&D subsidised?

Question: Have you applied or are you receiving State Aid for your R&D projects?

Question: Is your business subcontracted by a larger company?

Question: Are you no longer considered a “going concern”?

We think the RDEC scheme is the best place to start

Talk to us about which R&D tax relief scheme will work for you

Even though your business is probably classified as an SME we have identified some reasons why you might not be eligible for the SME R&D scheme. However, you may well be able to claim through the RDEC scheme instead.

We think the SME R&D tax relief scheme is the best place to start

Please note If your business has external investors this can affect your SME status. You may need to include the figures of connected companies and partner companies when you work out if your business is an SME and decide which scheme is best for you. If you are in doubt then speak to us and we’ll run through the numbers with you.

Why choose GovGrant?

We match you with an industry, commercial or technical expert that best suits your business. Irrespective of size and complexity, we will find the right technical expert who can add the most value to your claim.

We work alongside your accountant to complement their skills so there is no conflict. Your relationship with your accountant won’t be adversely affected.


of claim benefit delivered by GovGrant for our clients


of our clients* who made a claim in 2020 continue as a GovGrant client today


claims successfully processed by GovGrant

*The remaining 10% includes clients who no longer carry out R&D, ceased to trade, or have been acquired

How to claim your R&D tax credits

We want to work with you to get the best results for your business. With GovGrant every step will be easy and transparent.

1. Get in touch

The first step is to find out a little bit about your business, to understand how we can help you.

If we don’t think we can help at all, then we’ll let you know.

2. Agreeing how we work together

We set out what we can do for you, when we will do it and what we will charge. Everything is transparent. We hope the only surprise will be how much you can successfully claim.

3. Initial qualification

You will be matched with a technical specialist, who will best understand your business and speak your language. We need to review your financial information to assess if a claim will be worthwhile and to give you an estimated claim value.

4. Getting to know your business

We will introduce you to your technical team and arrange initial meetings. They will spend some time on site with you to identify the areas where a claim can be made – we know where to look.

5. Putting your best claim together

Taking the things that we’ve learnt about you, we will work with our tax experts to pull everything together. We know what HMRC are looking for and what makes a successful claim. The first draft is reviewed twice internally before we send it for you.

6. Your report

We may need some follow up information to evidence the claim.

The report is sent to you for approval and this will give you the size of the claim. We are authorised to submit a claim to HMRC on your behalf.

7. Dealing with HMRC

If HMRC come back with further questions then we will of course deal with them for you. Your award will come to you as a cheque or a tax allowance – usually within a month of submitting a claim.

8. Receiving the benefit

We invoice once we’ve had confirmation of the claim paid.

You only settle your GovGrant invoice once you’ve received the grant or tax relief.

Already claiming R&D tax credits?

Many businesses are claiming R&D tax relief already, but how do you make sure that you are in good hands?

  • Think about how much time your advisor spends on your claim. It takes time to get to know your business and make a compliant claim.
  • Think about the cost vs the value to your business, rather than just fees.
  • You should be aware of the risks of an HMRC enquiry and understand what quality assurance processes are in place with your advisor.
  • You should know that your advisor has enough R&D tax credit experience to offer genuine support if you do face an enquiry.

Contact us
to find out how you can make the most of your claim


Below are some frequently asked questions about making R&D tax relief claims. If you have any further questions please contact our team who will be happy to advise you.

In the UK, companies are able to claim tax relief for their qualifying R&D activity. The schemes, for SMEs and larger companies, are both administered by HMRC. Historically SMEs could claim back up to 33% of the amount they’ve spent on qualifying R&D. From the 1 April 2023 this will reduce to a maximum of 18.6% for loss making companies, increasing to 27% if the company is R&D intensive (defined as their qualifying expenditure represents 40% or more of their total expenditure).

Companies who claim under the RDEC scheme historically received over 10% of their R&D spending refunded, for expenditure incurred on or after 1 April 2023 this will increase up to 15%.

The R&D scheme is administered by HMRC, therefore companies claim R&D relief by entering the total qualifying expenditure on the full Company Tax Return form, CT600. Tax relief is given as either a reduction in the tax liability or, if the company is loss making, a refundable tax credit payable as cash on the amount of qualifying R&D expenditure.

No, the company can be in a loss position. These losses can then be utilised (i.e. not carried forward for tax relief in the future) and the company receive an R&D cash refund, without paying any corporation tax.

One of the requirements for an R&D claim is that the qualifying costs are included in the accounts and are allowable for tax purposes.

Therefore, we need to check that the qualifying costs are included in the relevant accounts either in the profit and loss account or Intangible fixed asset additions and also that they are not disallowed in the tax computation.

For tax purposes, R&D takes place when a project seeks to achieve an advance in overall knowledge or capability in a field of science or technology.

You can claim against certain costs that are allowable for tax purposes on the project including:

  • Employment costs to the company including salaries, bonuses, some reimbursed costs, employers Class 1 National Insurance contributions, employers pension fund contributions
  • Subcontractor costs (certain restrictions apply if you are claiming under the RDEC scheme)
  • Externally Provided Workers (EPWs)
  • Software (revenue costs)
  • Consumable items including materials and utilities like light and heat
  • Clinical trials volunteers in the pharmaceutical industry

For full accounting periods starting on or after 1 April 2023 the following R&D related costs will also be allowable.

  • Data licenses
  • Cloud computing

Within the SME scheme, a company can claim subcontractor costs (UK or overseas) for direct R&D activities, but for the RDEC scheme the subcontractor rules are more restrictive.

Yes, employees and externally provided workers (EPWs) are the only qualifying costs where indirect R&D activities can be claimed (i.e. subcontractors cannot claim for indirect R&D activities)

For SMEs, outsourced subcontractor costs (in the UK or overseas) that are undertaking qualifying direct R&D activities are allowable costs and can be included in the R&D claim. There is however a statutory deduction of 65% from the costs if the subcontractor is not connected or deemed to be connected to the company.

Generally, if the grant funding is “State Aid” then the company will need to make a claim under the RDEC scheme (even if they would normally qualify as an SME).

R&D tax relief may reduce your company’s tax bill if your company is liable for corporation tax or, if you make a loss, you may be able to surrender this loss and claim a tax credit. The R&D schemes enables companies with no corporation tax liability to benefit through a cash payment or a reduction of tax.

HMRC may open an R&D enquiry, firstly they will request further evidence, this could be Technical or Financial, often both. 

Once the questions from HMRC have been addressed, HMRC may conclude either, that there is no qualifying R&D activity and request the claim is withdrawn, or if they agree that there is some qualifying R&D activity but this is not represented by the costs claimed, they will reduce the R&D claim to fairly reflect the qualifying R&D activities undertaken by the company.

As a GovGrant customer if you face an HMRC enquiry we will defend it on your behalf at no extra charge. 

See our work in action with our client success stories​

R&D tax credits
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GovGrant is easy to talk to and you’ll be surprised by how easy, and valuable the exercise will be for your business.

Roly Holt | Managing Director, R&L Holt

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R&D tax credits
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Our experience with GovGrant has been fantastic. Having previously worked with another specialist within the industry, I can honestly say that GovGrant go above and beyond for their clients and the results speak for themselves.

Angus Elphinstone | CEO and Founder, AnyVan Ltd

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R&D tax credits
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Identifying exactly what qualifies as R&D is not easy. We’d claimed ourselves twice before, but the experts almost doubled the value of what we received.

Stanley Wilson | CEO, Urban Cottage Industries

R&D tax credits
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I liked the way my analyst understood our company’s activities and which ones qualified for the R&D scheme.

Paul Riley | Managing Director, Computer Controlled Solutions Ltd

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R&D tax credits
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…extremely efficient and able technical analyst, who asked the relevant questions…

Sue Goodchild | Managing Director, Goodchild Marine

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R&D tax credits | Patent Box
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GovGrant’s skilled IP professionals have subsequently identified patentable elements around process developments which will ultimately enable us to broaden the scope of revenues that go into our annual Patent Box claim.

RL Hartshorn | Managing Director, HL Plastics Limited

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R&D tax credits
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Being able to claim money back from the taxman for work we did to advance our internal manufacturing processes as well as the end customer experience is very welcome.

Andrea Rodney | Managing Director, Hone-All Precision Ltd

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R&D tax credits
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GovGrant’s investigative work is impressively thorough and in depth. I would highly recommend them.

Paul Mousley | Project Manager, Quartz Technical Services Ltd

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R&D tax credits
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We are so pleased with the GovGrant service that we now introduce companies within our network.

Andrew Maley | Managing Director, Tracware Ltd

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R&D tax credits | Patent Box
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…we were able to “relax”, knowing their Analyst’s technical knowledge gave us the best chance for successful IPO patent grant…

Clive Paul | Managing Director, TES Ltd

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R&D tax credits
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My words of advice would be; you may think that only scientific or manufacturing type companies qualify for R&D tax credits but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Martyn Jupp | CEO, Veriserv Ltd

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R&D tax credits
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The information they gave us and support along the way was excellent. They are a very good partner.

Mark Barrett | Managing Director, Warden Plastics

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Are R&D tax credits available to companies in my sector?

We find that companies from all sectors and all industries have the potential to claim UK R&D tax relief. Follow the link below to find out more.

Our understanding of the innovation lifecycle

The Patent Box is closely linked with R&D tax relief and a company can often claim tax relief under both schemes.

GovGrant can offer you advice to maximise your claims across both schemes. Find out more about our IP services including Patent Box.

Innovation lifecycle showing the journey through R&D tax relief and credits, IP harvest, Patent Box and Patent landscaping

The information they gave us and support along the way was excellent. They are a very good partner.

Mark Barret | Managing Director, Warden Plastics

Contact us
to find out how you can make the most of your innovation


If the R&D project is subsidised. For example by a customer, a charity or a university.

State Aid

If your business has received, or has applied for, a grant or other form of support which is notifiable State aid for an R&D project.

Partner companies

You have a partner company if:

  • another company holds over 25% of your voting rights or capital

  • you hold over 25% of another company’s voting rights or capital

Connected companies

Your company is connected to another one if:

  • it holds over 50% of the voting rights in another company

  • another company holds over 50% of the voting rights in your company