The Manufacturer: Funding Innovation

TM sits down with Martin Hook, UK Managing Director of Alma Consulting Group [now Ayming], a European innovation funding specialist, to discuss how the firm is supporting UK manufacturing firms to capitalise on R&D tax relief.

We know that the firm has worked within the automotive industry, what other industries has Ayming been working with?

The beauty of the UK R&D tax credit and relief schemes is that they are open to any industry: the legislation is remarkably inclusive. We work with businesses of all shapes and sizes, and across a wide variety of industries, to help them claim R&D tax relief. The eligible work they’ve undertaken also varies significantly. If you look at even a handful of our manufacturing clients you can see their diversity: from high tech night vision goggles through to biscuits and packaging.

How do you differentiate between sectors when tailoring your advice to their specific needs?

Our team includes a wide range of technical specialists such as engineers, scientists and software experts, who then receive in-depth tax training. What this means is that we are able to offer all of our clients a level of knowledge and service tailored to their industry. Rather than just knowing about UK tax legislation, and how R&D tax credits fits into that, our consultants have a genuine understanding of our clients’ specific sectors means that we’re able to dig much deeper into the workings of their business and projects, and thus we can compile a much more robust and comprehensive R&D tax claim for them.

Does R&D tax relief advice differ depending on the size of the company?

There are different schemes available depending on both the size of your business and your tax position.

If you qualify as an SME, you could receive up to 33.35p of tax relief per £1 of eligible expenditure. As a large company this could be up to 8.8p per £1. R&D tax credits are also available for some loss making organisations, resulting in a generous cash injection for your business. Otherwise, you can reduce your payable corporation tax through R&D tax relief.

Why do you think companies don’t take advantage of R&D tax relief?

We regularly come across businesses that don’t realise that tax relief applies to them or their activities. The definition of R&D for tax purposes is actually much broader than you might think. If your business projects ever present challenges or uncertainties, which could take time and resource to overcome, then there’s a good chance you could be claiming too.

What are the outcomes for firms not capitalising on this?

The figures above speak for themselves. This is a generous and lucrative tax incentive. All businesses can benefit from a cash injection or relief against payable corporation tax. You’d never willingly give your competitors a commercial advantage, so why would you ignore the benefits of R&D tax whilst your competitors benefit?

What’s next in the pipeline for Ayming?

We’ve just achieved a key business milestone, having claimed £100m of tax benefits for our UK clients. We’re also on target to have achieved nearly 400% growth over the last four years (2011 – 2015) and in this financial year alone we will be approaching 50% growth from the previous year. This means we’re on the hunt for talented individuals from all technical backgrounds to join our London-based team, and we’re busy welcoming a fascinating range of new clients too. 2016 looks set to be another great year for clients and staff of Ayming!

This interview was first published on 12th November 2015 in The Manufacturer

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