What To Look For In An Online R&D Tax Credits Claim Portal

The R&D tax relief scheme was launched in 2000 by the British government. It is a generous scheme allowing businesses to claim tax relief at a rate of up to 33.3% on their qualifying R&D expenditure, which many receive in the form a cash rebate.

Due to the complex nature of the scheme, most companies require specialist assistance to ensure they receive their full entitlement. In response, a niche industry of R&D tax relief specialists have emerged offering to provide expert advice, guidance and claim management. 

These companies typically charge their services based on a percentage of the corporation tax savings gained for the client and, therefore, often require a minimum claim size to make the offering commercially viable for the consultancy. As a result, some of the smaller SMEs could not fully benefit from specialist R&D Tax Credit advice, meaning many were having to do it themselves. This often meant R&D tax credit claims were rejected by HMRC or not fully maximised. Not great for anyone.

To help address this pain point for many SMEs, In late 2017, Tax Cloud released the first online R&D tax credits claim portal in the UK. This spawned a wave of competing businesses launching similar offerings by mid-2018.

So, with that in mind, how do you decide which R&D tax credit claims portal is the most appropriate for your business?

This article will help you understand what to look for when selecting an R&D tax credit claims portal. Below we explore some of the essential features that will ensure you experience a smooth, successful and fully maximised claims process.

Online R&D tax credit portals are generally targeted at SMEs who don’t want to pay large fees on a claim or do not meet the criteria of a typical R&D tax consultancy client.

What To Look For In A Leading R&D Tax Credit Claim Portal:

Low fees – Fees charged for online services such as an online R&D tax credit portal should ALWAYS be cheaper than traditional services. Cost savings are incurred as you yourself invest the time to input data into the system, rather than the service provider.

Direct Access to Qualified Advisor(s) – Ensure the portal you select has experienced qualified advisors who review your claim during the entire claims process.  A good R&D tax credit claims portal should not be just a data capture website.  It should provide direct access to experienced & qualified advisors who will review and support your claim at each step of the process.  The portal should also support numerous channels of communication between the claimant and the advisors allowing you to get expert advice at a fraction of the cost associated with a full-service boutique consultancy.

As a minimum they should provide:

  • Live online chat facility, connecting the user to a qualified advisor.  
  • Email communication – with a nominated online claim manager
  • Phone support within normal business hours

Open lines of communication allow the users to ensure they can progress with the claim at their desired pace without undue delay.

Integrations - Being able to import costing data from your accounting software, like Xero, can save you a significant amount of time and avoid errors associated with manual entry. This isn’t essential, but if you find a portal that integrates with your company’s accounting software, the claims process will be much simpler for your team.

Peace of Mind – All claims are reviewed by HMRC. Completing a claim incorrectly can result in HMRC launching an investigation into the company’s activity.  Using a specialist online portal, supported by qualified experienced advisors ensures you have a valid claim and that your claim complies to scheme rules and guidelines.  Platforms developed by established claims specialists who have a successful track record will ensure your claim meets standards and prevent any further investigation from HMRC.

Online guidance – R&D tax relief is a complex specialist area. Understanding eligible qualifying costs and information required to complete a technical report can directly impact on the ability to maximise the claim value. Portals that provide online guidance and access to advisors with a successful track record will ensure your claim is maximised.

Final Thoughts…

Investing time researching which online R&D tax credits portal best suits your needs will save you time and money in the long run. Providing you with peace of mind that your claim complies with HMRC’s guidelines, ensuring you receive your full entitlement and maximising the financial benefit to your business.

Tax Cloud launched in October 2017 and was the UK’s first, guided online R&D tax relief claim portal.  Already Tax Cloud has processed well in excess of 100 claims with a 100% success rate.  Developed by R&D tax credit experts Myriad Associates, it offers a simple to use interface, direct access to a team of R&D tax credit experts and integrates with Xero. To find out more about Tax Cloud, simply get in touch.

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Chris Dowsett
Author Chris Dowsett Head of Tax Cloud
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Myriad Associates helps businesses maximise tax reliefs and secure R&D grant funds. We specialise in R&D Tax Credits, Video Games Tax Relief, Innovate UK grants, Horizons 2020 grants, and Research and Development Capital Allowance Claims.

  • Submitting R&D tax claims since 2001
  • 100% success rate
  • Over £100m claimed and counting
  • Industry leading specialists
  • In-house technical, costing and tax experts
  • Member of the Research and Development Consultative (RDCC) committee

Meet some of the team behind Tax Cloud

Barrie Dowsett Barrie Dowsett ACMA CGMA Chief Executive Officer
David Farbey David Farbey MA, FISTC, FRSA Technical Consultancy Director
Lisa Waller Lisa Waller CTA, ACCA R&D Tax Manager
Lauren Olson Lauren Olson MA, MISTC Senior Technical Consultant