As we’ve pointed out before, the wheels at HMRC can turn a little slowly sometimes. It’s understandable – even unavoidable, given the amount of work involved and the back-and forth you often get between businesses and the taxman. Even so, it can strain your patience and your cash flow to have your R&D Tax Relief claim left hanging for months on end. SMEs in particular are among the most dynamic and fast-moving businesses around. That’s why they stand to gain so much from the R&D scheme. Unfortunately, when they’re relying on the tax relief to get by, any kink in the cash flow pipeline is bad news.
Here’s the state of play right now. HMRC is currently working on SME claims that were submitted up to the 1st of May 2019. RDEC claims being worked on go back to the 21st of December 2018. For businesses whose claims fall outside of those timeframes, RIFT is chasing HMRC hard to get them sorted out as quickly as possible.
We’ve also raised our concerns about the delays and the harm they could cause with HMRC directly. In response, HMRC has explained the 3-point plan it’s put together to bring its timescales down to a more manageable level:
A recovery plan has been put into place, aiming to bring the Payable Tax Credits system back on track while continuing to tackle the backlog of outstanding RDEC payments.
Additional staff is being brought over from other areas of HMRC to speed up the processing and payment of claims. On top of that, new staff is being recruited and trained up to make sure things move faster from now on.
Agents are being updated on the play-by-play of the situation via a weekly update for Research and Development Consultative Committee members. In addition to that, HMRC has set up an updated “auto response” message for emails sent to the R&D mailbox, making sure that customers are kept informed and that they understand what to expect.
All in all, it’s good to know that HMRC is taking these delays seriously and working both to resolve them and to prevent the same thing from happening in future. It’s still not an ideal situation, given HMRC’s target of a 28-day turnaround on processing R&D claims, but it’s definitely not being swept under the carpet.
Naturally, we’ll keep chasing up all the claims made through RIFT as aggressively as ever. As the situation develops, we’ll make sure you always know where you stand (and how long you’ll be standing there). In the meantime, whatever concerns, questions or problems you have about your claim, get in touch. R&D Tax Credits are about rewarding the most forward-thinking businesses in the UK, and RIFT is here to ensure your future is as bright as your best ideas.
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