Accounting Standards

HMRC must fight ‘rogue’ R&D claims, says ATT

The Association of Taxation Technicians is calling on the government department to address ‘rogue’ advisers who seek to maximise research and development claims

The Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) is calling on HMRC to take more action against “rogue” research and development claims.

The professional body is alleging that some advisers are seeking to maximise their claims inappropriately.

This follows a recent government consultation on R&D relief, which called for views on private-sector R&D investment in the UK, how it is supported by SME and large company R&D relief schemes, and what changes are needed.

Jeremy Coker, ATT’s president, said: “The government has an ambitious target to raise total investment in R&D to 2.4% of UK GDP by 20272 but before that is achieved it is important it ensures that the reliefs are up-to-date, competitive and well targeted.

“We understand that the vast majority of specialist R&D advisers submit accurate and appropriate claims for R&D relief but we are increasingly aware that there is a minority of ‘rogue’ advisers who seek to maximise claims inappropriately, especially where their fee is calculated as a percentage of that claim.”

He added: “This behaviour is driven by two factors – the R&D rules are not prescriptive meaning there is a lot of room for interpretation, and claims can trigger a cash repayment, which especially in the current climate, can sound very attractive to companies.

“ATT members are held to strict standards of behaviour3 but these ‘rogue’ advisers may not be members of any professional body.”

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