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R&D Tax Credits can be worth some serious money so you want to make sure you get it right first time, every time. Whilst considering the services of a professional R&D Tax Credit advisor, it’s important to note that not all advisors were created equal. Whether this is your first time claiming or not, you should still carry out an in-depth assessment before choosing, as it’s likely to save a lot of time and hassle in the long run.
To help you, we’ve put together a list of seven considerations when deciding on a new R&D Tax Credit advisor:
R&D Tax Credits are a tax incentive offered by the Revenue so a good starting point is to understand an advisor’s tax experience and qualifications. Obviously tax is a complicated topic - are they chartered tax advisors? The Revenue will expect R&D tax advisors to understand the tax legislation fully, so they need to be totally proficient. Also many areas of tax overlap, so if an advisor doesn’t understand the full “landscape” surrounding your company’s tax position then you could well run into trouble later. Also, due to this overlap, it may well be that your R&D Tax Credit advisor needs to work alongside your accountant or in-house tax team. Do you feel confident in allowing them to do this? Don’t forget, R&D Tax Credits can affect other sources of funding too, like grants. So a holistic approach to tax and a broader understanding of the funding landscape is very important
R&D Tax Credits are about applying certain tax rules to your specific sector. This makes it well worth checking if the advisors are industry experts who can understand and communicate exactly what it is you need.
If your business is within a particularly narrow field, such as pharma or software, think about whether your tax advisor can fully understand and engage with its details and nuances. The language used in any R&D Tax Credit application could well involve a level of technical jargon, so it’s vital they not only understand what it means but can “translate” it enough to make sense to the Revenue.
A broad tax knowledge is great, but they also need to understand the minutiae of making an R&D Tax Credit application so that it’s ultimately being dealt with effectively. How many similar claims have they completed before? This experience is vital in getting the claim right. For example, will your R&D Tax Credit advisor know what documentary evidence needs to be included, and how best to write your narrative? If everything is not present and correct, you can easily run the risk of an investigation by the Revenue.
It’s likely you’ll discover that different R&D Tax Credit advisors provide very different services. Some firms will put a lot of time and effort into understanding your company, putting together your claim and submitting it to the Revenue. This is a huge weight off your shoulders and makes the whole thing time (and money) well spent.
Unfortunately there are also many advisors who, for whatever reason, will try and get away with doing the bare minimum leaving a certain amount of work down to you. Generally you will need to compile the forms and documents yourself and all they will do is check them. Although this can look attractive as it’s usually the cheaper option, it’s likely to require some serious time and effort from you which may well be better spent on other things. Swotting up on all the R&D rules, working out what is and isn’t eligible, writing your report and submitting it will all be done by you, and you’re bound to wonder if you’re doing it correctly along the way.
The key is in asking yourself is your time worth it? The whole application could take a couple of weeks or even a month – is this time you can afford to spend on it? This is where a complete service could well be the one for you.
This takes us nicely into the next point – what will your advisor actually do? A complete and comprehensive service will minimise the work you have to do whilst maximising your chances of success and ensuring you maximise your claim. It will likely begin with an initial meeting with you to discuss your requirements before conducting a site visit. The purpose of this site visit is so your advisor can look at your R&D work and understand how it relates to your claim. They will then go away to prepare and submit your application.
For most companies, submitting a claim and receiving the benefit is pretty straightforward. However, sometimes the Revenue will select claims for further review in order to check everything is correct and to protect the public purse.
If the Revenue spots any weaknesses in the claim or it needs some further explanation, it will then open an enquiry. This process can be complex with hefty fines for getting it wrong, meaning an effective R&D Tax Credit advisor can literally be worth their weight in gold. They can help you understand any correspondence from the Revenue and supply the correct documentation to move your claim forward. They can also put your mind at rest if you have any worries or concerns.
As a side note, check if the fee you’re quoted includes any support in the event of a Revenue enquiry. If it doesn’t, this could well be a substantial extra cost at what may already be a stressful time if an enquiry is raised.
This is another area where firms of R&D Tax Credit advisors can vary massively in their approach.
First of all, look at the initial charges. Are they set prices or are there extras in the form of “submission charges” or “administration costs”? Is there a requirement to enter into a long-term contract? If so, ask yourself why they’re offering this. Are they not confident that their service will satisfy you enough for you to choose to carry on using them in future? Also, are any charges negotiable and what happens if you don’t like your advisor and wish to look elsewhere once some of the work has been completed? Putting in the groundwork now can mean avoiding some very uncomfortable situations further down the line.
With offices in both Dublin and London, Myriad Associates consists of highly trained and experienced experts in all areas of R&D tax relief across Ireland and the rest of the UK. Whether your business is just starting out or you’re already set up and growing, our friendly, professional team will offer the holistic approach you need. Call us today on +353 1 566 2001 or use our contact page to ask us any questions you have.