SMEs to benefit from Chancellor’s change to the Research & Development tax credits schemes

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a partial reversal to the SME Research & Development (R&D) tax credit cuts in the recent Spring Budget after facing months of pressure.

Startups had warned that the cuts, first announced last November in the Autumn Statement, would hinder growth for early-stage and research-intensive tech companies.

The R&D tax credits and relief scheme was already attracting criticism because of suspected fraud and general abuse of the initiative.

The autumn reforms to the R&D scheme became effective from April 2023. The key points include:

  • R&D costs which can be claimed are reduced from 230 per cent to 186 per cent of qualifying expenditure.
  • The available cash credit rate, which is for R&D tax losses that are offset against a cash rebate, is reduced to 10 per cent from 14.5 per cent.

For larger businesses, the Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) rate was actually increased from 13 per cent to 20 per cent.

Top up

The previously announced reduction will remain in place, but loss-making “R&D-intensive” startups will receive a top-up. Those that spend 40 per cent or more of their total outgoings on R&D will be able to claim a tax credit of 27 per cent, or £27 for every £100 spent.

The inclusion of some overseas expenditure in R&D tax relief claims is deferred for a year until 1 April 2024, to allow the Government to consider the interaction of this with a potential merged R&D relief scheme.

Two new categories of qualifying R&D expenditure will be created, for data licences and cloud computing services.

It has also been announced that all R&D claims from 1 August 2023 will need to be filed using the new digital forms, regardless of the accounting period concerned.

How to claim R&D relief

You can claim the relief up to two years after the accounting period it relates to, by treating it as a deduction from the company’s profits for the accounting period. The claim must be made in the company tax return or an amendment to the return.

You must send:

  • A full Company Tax Return form (CT600)
  • A completed tax computation
  • Add the form CT600L, if claiming a payable tax credit or Research and Development Expenditure Credit.

Need help with claiming R&D tax credits? Contact us today.

Chancellor abolishes Lifetime Allowance pensions shake-up

The abolition of the pensions Lifetime Allowance, (LTA) which was announced in the Spring Budget, releases people to save as much as they like into their schemes.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt abolished the allowance, which is the limit on how much people can build up in their pension pots over their lifetime while still benefiting from key tax incentives. The previous threshold was £1,073,100 and anything over that was subject to a tax charge of up to 55 per cent.

Necessary change

The Government had argued that the LTA change was necessary because too many highly paid professionals, including NHS consultants and GPs take early retirement, and there have been predictions that more and more old public and private sector employees would change their behaviour or retire early to avoid being hit by penalties.

The Chancellor also increased the Annual Allowance (AA), which is the total amount paid into your pension plans each year from all sources, before you have to pay additional tax charges, from £40,000 to £60,000. He has also increased the Money Purchase Annual Allowance (MPAA) and Tapered Annual Allowance (TAA) from £4,000 to £10,000, and the Adjusted Income for TAA from £240,000 to £260,000.

MPAA changes

Previously, if you accessed any taxable money from your pension plan you would see your allowance reduce from £40,000 to £4,000. This is a limit on how much people over 55 could pay into a defined contribution pension with tax reliefs once they start drawing an income from their retirement pot.

The Chancellor has increased this from £4,000 to £10,000, which might be useful for anyone who dipped into their pension plan to help top up their income during the pandemic or while living costs are so high.

TAA changes

The TAA applies where an individual has a threshold income of £200,000 and adjusted income of £240,000 (adjusted income includes all pension contributions, while threshold income excludes pension contributions).

Where the TAA applies, an individual’s AA is reduced by 50p for every £1 over the adjusted income threshold, down to the minimum level. The minimum level has now been increased to £10,000.

Need help with understanding pension tax liabilities? Contact us. 

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