Blackpool-based advisory firm Champion Accountants says it has helped small to medium-sized businesses across the North West claim more than £3.45m in research and development relief over the last six months.
One firm that has benefited is Lancashire-headquartered web specialists Bespoke, which has reclaimed more than £14,000 in tax through R&D relief.
The company, which develops tailor-made web software and technology, claimed the relief after identifying more than £58,000 of qualifying expenditure in the 2012/13 and 2013/14 tax years.
Steve Brennan, managing director of Bespoke, said: “The funds that Champion Accountants helped us to claim back will allow us to stay at the forefront of innovation.
“R&D has massively changed our decision making and encouraged us to innovate and invest in staff and technology.
“Any clients that use our bespoke software can also claim R&D relief, helping to cut their own costs and enhance our position when pitching for future business.
“Champion were the first advisory team to proactively pursue tax relief claims and with the process painless and able to take place each year, I’d recommend every business to see what they could save.”
As part of the Government’s drive to boost innovation, businesses that invest in the research and development of new products and processes will receive a tax deduction on qualifying R&D expenditure, including staff wages, materials, overheads, software and utility bills, as well as the ability to claim cash back from HMRC.
Any loss-making SMEs that are yet to make a profit can claim cash payments at a rate of 14.5 per cent – equivalent to £32.62 for every £100 spent on R&D.
Danny Evans, head of R&D at Champion Accountants, said: “With awareness of R&D on the rise, it is still massively under claimed.
“Businesses have a huge misconception that you must wear a lab coat and develop pharmaceuticals to qualify, when in fact it benefits any company that makes advancements in science or technology. Businesses such as Bespoke develop custom-built technology and rely on R&D to encourage innovation.
“Reinvesting the money claimed will provide a huge boost to the region’s economy, where creative and manufacturing excellence continues to dominate.”