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What Are HMRC’s Processing Times For an R&D Claim?

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Once you have submitted your R&D claim, you may be wondering what happens next and how long you will have to wait before you receive your tax credits. In this article, discover HMRC’s processing times for R&D claims and find out which factors can delay the review process.

HMRC processing times for SMEs

HMRC currently aims to process 85% of claims within 40 days of receipt. This is an extended timeframe, it has usually aimed for a 28 day turnaround but has had to extend this due to high volumes of claims and increased compliance work.

When HMRC experiences any delays that affect processing times, they will update their general practice note – we strongly advise checking this to keep up-to-date with the latest changes.

Other factors which may impact how long it takes HMRC to review your claim can include:

    • The complexity of your claim
    • Staffing shortages during peak seasonal periods
    • Claims submitted over financial year ends, like March, September and December
  • Whether your company has any special areas of risk that need to be considered
  • The amount of additional information and documentation you submit 
  • (For payable credits) whether you include bank details for payments in your tax return

HMRC processing times for the RDEC tax credit scheme 

Companies claiming under the RDEC scheme are subject to similar processing timeframes and can be affected by the same external factors as businesses claiming under the SME scheme. However, as RDEC companies are larger, they will typically take longer to assess. This is because the claims are usually more complex and may contain specialist domains like transfer pricing. 

Can a business file an R&D claim after their corporate tax deadline has passed? 

Yes, if a business has filed a claim after its corporate tax due date, HMRC will issue a refund once the claim has been processed. However, if they submit a claim before the due date (which is typically 9 months and 1 day after the end of their accounting period) they have the opportunity to pay the correct amount of tax at the outset. 

Note however the new requirement to notify HMRC of the intention to claim within 6 months of the end of your accounting year. 

What happens if HMRC identifies an error in the claim?

If HMRC identifies an error in the claim, they are likely to open an enquiry to investigate these faults and, as a result, the business could receive a penalty. To find out more about the enquiry process and the penalties involved, read our related article: Can HMRC Withhold the Payment of Your R&D Tax Credits?  

How Ayming can help

With over 30 years’ experience, we have all the knowledge and expertise needed to help you compile and submit your R&D tax credit claim. 

Our consultants work with you to suggest the best times to submit your claim that’s likely to give you the quickest turnaround and the best outcome. 

Get in touch to begin your R&D claim.