R&D tax credit claims rise to £105m in Northern Ireland

Momentum Group managing director Tom Verner

NEW statistics published by HMRC reveal that a total of £105 million was paid out to Northern Ireland businesses in research and development (R&D) tax credits last year - up 40 per cent from £75m a year earlier.

But while the total number of successful applications has risen to 1,615, the north is still one of the UK's lowest regions for claims.

Designed to drive innovation, the average received per R&D tax claim by local companies was £65,015, an increase of 14 per cent on the previous statistics, but a figure which is around half of that in London (£129,865).

The figures coincide with Bangor-based R&D tax credit specialists Momentum Group ( launching its ‘Rebound' support service which aims to assist businesses by maximising their uptake of all available grants and R&D tax benefits offered by the UK government.

Momentum's managing director Tom Verner said: “It's encouraging to once again see a rise in the number of R&D tax credit claims in Northern Ireland.

“The manufacturing, professional, scientific and technical, and information and communication sectors again had the bulk of the claims, making up more than two thirds of the monetary amount claimed in 2018-19.

“It also shows that younger companies from 0-10 years old account for 46 per cent of all claims, reflecting that start-ups and entrepreneurial companies may have greater awareness of R&D tax credits than their more established counterparts.

“While this is a welcome trend, there are still a great many innovative companies missing out on potentially tens of thousands of pounds in R&D tax credits.

“The launch of our Rebound support service comes in response to the dual challenge for businesses operating under the looming threat of a no-trade deal Brexit and an ongoing global pandemic. We are in this together, and we will continue to offer free claims advice to companies during these pressured times.”

Underlining the UK government's commitment to research and development support, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has pledged to increase spending on overall R&D to £22 billion a year by 2024-25.

Mr Verner added: “Between the £38 billion spent by the government on bounceback loans for businesses affected by the Covid pandemic, and the potential tax relief that can be claimed in R&D, there is so much support for businesses out there, but awareness and understanding of the latter remains stubbornly poor.

“But Momentum can help, and our Rebound support service aims to work directly with companies to conduct strategic reviews of their business before putting strategies in place to identify wide-ranging R&D and innovation opportunities.”

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