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How R&D Tax Credits Can Help Irish Businesses During COVID-19

With the world still picking its way through the COVID-19 crisis, there are a number of key issues business leaders need to consider in weathering the storm. Not only will this help companies stay afloat now, but also in years to come.

Barrie Dowsett

Chief Executive Officer


5 minute read

All companies need to have a proactive, planned approach to protecting their business should difficult times come about. Indeed, building resilience is key to long term business continuity in general.

With the world still picking its way through the COVID-19 crisis, there are a number of key issues business leaders need to consider in weathering the storm. Not only will this help companies stay afloat now, but also in years to come.

What is a business continuity plan?

The coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak has shown that life will always throw us a curveball when we least expect it. A business continuity plan is crucial as it sets out what needs to happen if and when unexpected events occur that cause business interruption. The plan must identify important risks that mean major problems in production, such as weather events, technological problems or cyber-attacks. For each risk that has been identified, a go-to suite of quick or temporary measures needs to be available to keep the business functioning.

A big priority for all companies is their integral technologies. Phone lines, business applications, network connections, online systems, drives and servers can all be vulnerable to a variety of disruptions and can bring huge problems of they go down.

However, business continuity planning isn’t just concerned with IT functions. It’s about wider critical activities that could immediately jeopardise the availability of your services or your business productivity if disrupted. This could be problems with your supply chain for example, or staffing issues.

What should an effective continuity plan include?

Obviously no-one can predict the future - again, COVID-19 has shown us that - but an effective business continuity plan still needs to identify the key business risks. Once identified, each of these risks should be accompanied with a set of solutions to mitigate their effects should they occur.

Business continuity plans tend to be highly intricate and will vary from company to company, so yours will be unique. However, typically all good business continuity plans will include:

  • A purpose and policy
  • Parameters
  • Key roles and responsibilities
  • Contact information of the management team
  • A list of tasks that are essential in maintaining the operations of the business
  • Plans around how specific risks will be mitigated
  • Goals and objectives
  • Coordination with the emergency services
  • Explanation of where to go during an emergency
  • Information about site and data backups
  • How the business continuity plan will be revised and maintained in future

Why is a business continuity plan so important?

Disasters and disruption are likely to result in unexpected costs and loss of revenue, which will negatively impact profits. Insurance alone may also only cover part of the cost, or perhaps even none at all.

A comprehensive business continuity plan can also help by:

  • Making the business feel more able to cope with the unexpected
  • Giving an opportunity to plan an acceptable service immediately following the disaster
  • Allowing for a business to better preserve its revenue stream, image and corporate reputation.

Don’t forget to regularly review your business continuity plan

Regularly reviewing and testing out your business continuity plan is essential. Think of it not as a one-time task but as a constant work in progress.

Business continuity plans are rarely perfect which is why you’ll need to put it to the test and then adjust it where necessary. Shutting down your business so that you can test it is not the best idea though! Instead carry out table top exercises, where a particular disruptive scenario is recreated and the individuals around the table take on roles. This can be an excellent way of talking through what to do next and how it fits with the current plan.

Boost cash flow to increase resilience

There are a number of ways you can successfully boost your company’s cash flow which in turn can help finance your resilience plans. A key one is R&D Tax Credits, a government-back tax scheme that can yield thousands of euros you didn’t know you could claim.

How does the R&D Tax Credits scheme work?

The R&D Tax Credits scheme was first introduced in Ireland in the early 2000s, offering companies undertaking relevant research and development a significant tax break. This break represents a potential 25% refund of R&D costs incurred, making the scheme incredibly generous.

Companies that are turning a profit can enjoy a direct reduction in their Corporation Tax, whilst those that have made a loss can claim the credit as cash in three installments.

R&D Tax Credits can be claimed in addition to the 12.5% Corporation Tax deduction for any eligible R&D expenditure. This in effect puts the total tax benefit at 37.5% (25% R&D Tax Credit rate plus 12.5% standard Corporation Tax rate).

How to qualify for R&D Tax Credits

In order to benefit from the R&D Tax Credits scheme, projects undertaken by the company must meet very specific criteria laid out by the Irish Revenue.

The R&D work must be:

  • In a field of science or technology (although the company itself can be in any industry)
  • Investigative, experimental or systematic
  • Involving experimental, basic or applied research
  • Seeking to make a technological or scientific advance in your company’s industry
  • Involving a financial risk to the company in undergoing the R&D

Examples of potential R&D activities

These are many and varied but we’ve recently seen a large amount of R&D going on in:

  • The development of a new product, service or process
  • Enhancement of an existing product, service or process
  • Product packaging
  • The development of a new medical or pharmaceutical product
  • Software development

You can discover more about the scheme and what goes in to an application on our R&D Tax Credits page.

Get in touch with the R&D tax experts at Myriad Associates

Making a claim for R&D Tax Credits is made up of several complex stages and it’s easy to make mistakes. Our team of expert accountants and R&D specialists are on hand to help you make a fully optimised, accurate claim first time every time. So why not get in touch and find out what you could be owed?

Call the Dublin-based Myriad Associates team today on +353 1 566 2001 or use our contact form so we can get back to you.

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