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Innovation in the time of Corona

Article Date: 26 May 2020

Innovation in the time of Corona

Necessity is the mother of invention.

The Covid-19 pandemic has upended normal life, making activities we once took for granted seem totally alien. No business has been immune to its impacts, with offices closed and social distancing enforced across the country businesses have needed to adapt. It is in these adaptations, in looking for ways of working during this time companies may be entitled to Research & Development relief on some of their efforts.


There is often a misconception with Research & Development relief, that it is a tax relief only for those businesses that work in labs and come up with all manner of weird and wonderful inventions. Research & development expenditure is for projects that are able to show:

  • That the project looked for an advance in science and technology and aimed to achieve it
  • You had to overcome scientific or technological uncertainty
  • Overcame the uncertainty
  • The problem could not easily be worked out by a professional in the field

Given that all the showrooms have closed and there is no precedent for working remotely, there is a strong case of there being an initial technological uncertainty that any dealer would be able to work their systems in remote settings.

The term ‘advancement in science and technology’ on face value would appear to be a steep hurdle to clear, in practice there it has a broad application to include.

The adaptation of technology from another field. Have you had to incorporate new methods, new code to allow for more remote DMS access as people work from home. Has anything new been developed to help sell remotely? Has anything been adapted to the motor industry from other industries whilst the showrooms have been closed?

The creation of a product, process or system representing an increase in knowledge or capability in a field of science or technology.

Using science or technology to duplicate the effect of an existing product.

It is important though that it is more than simply using science or technology. It must improve the existing technology in more than a trivial way. Improvements that are more than just adding functionality.

Benefits of an R&D claim

If you believe that during this unprecedented crisis that you have incurred some research and development expenditure, we can help you put together a claim for R&D relief.

This would entitle small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) R&D tax relief allows companies to:

  • deduct an extra 130% of their qualifying costs from their yearly profit, as well as the normal 100% deduction, to make a total 230% deduction
  • claim a tax credit if the company is loss-making, worth up to 14.5% of the surrenderable loss.

If you believe that your business has undertaken some research and development expenditure during this time, please feel free to let us know and investigate whether or not qualifies for research and development relief.

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