Research and Development tax relief – how quickly can I get my R&D tax credits?

From a month to several months, and a lot of that depends on you. I’ll start with HMRC’s timings, and work back to your input. 

HMRC R&D processing time

HMRC used to have a service level promise to process any R&D tax relief that led to a payable tax credit within 28 days (see here for details), though repayment of corporation tax could take longer. This promise has changed to an aim, and when government cuts and popular year ends are taken into account (March, Dec & Sept) then the processing time for claims can be up to 8 weeks, averaging at around 6 weeks. 

HMRC payment time

Any payable result of an R&D tax relief claim is made by a different department within HMRC once the claim has been processed, so up to ten more working days can be added to the initial processing time. 

Preparing the R&D tax relief claim itself

This time can be hugely variable, depending on the familiarity of the people building the claim with the legislation. If you are looking at doing it yourself then you’d need a couple of months to fully read through and digest the legislation, then a fair chunk of time to build the technical narrative that the claim rests on. The accounting side takes less time, but of course is critical to get right. 

How long would we take to do it for you?

Companies can go back two years in their claims, meaning if your year end is August you have until 31st August 2015 to claim for the year ending 31st August 2013. This timing drives how urgent a claim submission is. From the technical meeting with you the majority of claims are written by us and submitted on your behalf within six weeks, with very little further input from you. If timing is tight, however, we can deliver quickly for you - we haven’t missed a deadline yet.


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