Blackpool missing out on research and development aid

Blackpool businesses could be missing out on R&D tax aid
Blackpool businesses could be missing out on R&D tax aid
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Businesses in Blackpool may be punching below their weight in terms of innovation, new figures suggest.

The resort ranks in the bottom ten places in the country for Research and Development (R&D) tax credits, specialist tax relief firm Catax revealed today.

Blackpool businesses made just 20 claims for research and development tax relief in a year, latest figures from HMRC show.

Businesses which spend time and money developing a new product, business process or service could potentially claim tax relief for R&D. In Catax’s experience, the average claim is worth £44,000.

Despite these figures, there is a common misconception that the R&D needs to be successful in order to qualify for this type of relief.

However, research says 72 per cent of senior business leaders do not realise this is not the case and that, as long as time and money has been spent, the R&D could qualify.

Meanwhile, Catax says there also continues to be a lack of awareness around what qualifies for R&D tax relief in the first place, with many firms wrongly believing they wouldn’t be entitled to claim.

Previous research suggests nearly half of businesses (44 per cent) believe that R&D relief is restricted to companies in the science and technology sectors.

Blackpool was fifth bottom of the R&D applications table with Merthyr Tydfil worst with just five claims and Hartlepool, Falkirk and Stirling all on 15.

Meanwhile Manchester had 1,140 claims worth £75m.

Catax CEO, Mark Tighe, said: “While it is true that more businesses are claiming the R&D tax relief that is rightfully theirs, far too many SMEs still don’t realise that they qualify.

“There needs to be more education among small businesses over what actually counts as R&D. Most don’t realise it’s not just a new scientific formula or a jet engine but a piece of software, an manufacturing process or even a new innovative restaurant dish.

“The typical £44,000 claim is a significant amount and firms need to ask themselves whether they can afford not to check if they could benefit.’’