Are you one of the SMEs missing out on innovation incentives?

October 03, 2017

By Rachel Moore

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has released its annual statistics regarding research and development (R&D) credits and Patent Box claims, which make for interesting reading. Small and medium enterprises (SME) companies that are engaged in qualifying R&D activities can claim tax reliefs on the cost of these activities. For UK SME businesses that means they could receive up to £33 of cash support for every £100 of qualifying R&D costs. 

Patent box effectively provides a 10% tax rate for UK companies that are exploiting patented intellectual property (IP) rights, reduced from the headline corporation tax rate of 19%.

HMRC latest statistics show UK businesses spent almost £23bn on research and development (R&D) in 2015/16, an increase of 4% from the previous year. The figures showed that total amount of R&D tax relief was £2.9bn in the year (a 20%% increase from 2014/15).  The statistics also show that only 523 SMEs claimed patent box. Though this is a significant increase on the previous year, showing increasing uptake as the regime phases in,  the number of SME claimants makes up just 3% of those making SME R&D claims, suggesting large numbers are still missing out on patent box.

During he year, 21, 865 SMEs made R&D claims, the highest since the scheme began in 2000/01 (an increase of 22% on 2014/15) but this still means that the large majority of UK SME businesses are not claiming.  A significant proportion of the increase in R&D claims was driven by the rise in the number of claims by SMEs.  

Many start-ups and small businesses are missing out on claiming up to 33% cashback on their R&D spend as they are not aware of the R&D tax credit regime, incorrectly don't believe they qualify or find it too hard to claim. To make it easier for them to check if they are eligible and claim R&D credits, PwC  have launched the online tool Nifty R&D (

Nifty R&D is the UK's first online R&D tool, which significantly reduces the time and cost to businesses of preparing claims.

Find out what your benefit could be using our calculator, visit or emails us at [email protected] for more information.

For further details speak to me, Chrissie Freear or Samantha Butcher.

Rachel Moore

Phone -  +44(0)1223 55 2276

Email -  [email protected]

Chrissie Freear

Phone - +44(0)1223 55 2389

Email [email protected]

Samantha Butcher

Phone -  +44 (0) 1603883372