You know about thinking hats, but do you know about invisible lab coats?
HMRC uses phrases like ‘a scientific project to make an advance in science or technology’, ‘how the project had to overcome uncertainty’ and ‘tried to overcome this uncertainty’ that ‘could not easily be worked out by a professional in the field’. This not to say that R&D qualifies only within the science and technology industries, instead that the R&D carried out in your company’s project relates to advancements in this field. How does this differ?
Let’s take a look at the food industry. For restaurants this can be as simple as food experimentation for new dishes, making changes to food formulation to improve taste, texture and nutrition or testing sustainable or new ingredients. It could even be the trial and error of ingredient quantities for scaling or colour enhancement. And that’s just product development.
Altered packaging to extend shelf life, new ways of reducing costs, enhancing processes for food safety or sustainability efforts can all count.
Everyday people are wearing invisible lab coats - trying to improve things, find means of being more efficient and pursue ways of making things simpler, better, and more of. That is R&D.
So, have a read of this and think about whether it sounds familiar:
You’re faced with a challenge you need to overcome. Research comes up short for solutions, and you try to ask some professionals - with no luck. You’re left with looking for an answer yourself. You try some things uncertain if it will work out or not, and spend money out of pocket in hopes of solving the challenge…
At this stage, you could be looking at a claim, regardless of whether it pans out. Cue us, the specialists, who then translate your story into the technical terms for the report format HMRC want: to get back some of the money you spent for the future challenges you face.