New HMRC R&D tax relief guidance 'could be clearer', says ICAEW

18 Mar 2024

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has stated that new guidance from HMRC on research and development (R&D) tax relief guidance 'could be clearer'.

HMRC's draft guidance covers the restriction applying for contractor payments and payments for externally provided workers (EPWs) where the R&D activity takes place overseas; and the new rules for contracted-out R&D.

The ICAEW's Tax Faculty believes that additional clarity would be 'helpful' on a few of the new points.

It also said that the guidance 'does not fully address the implications of an arrangement between the customer and the contractor that is governed by multiple contracts'. The Institute has called for the guidance to explain how to determine if the contractor took R&D into consideration at the time of the contract when multiple contract dates exist.

The ICAEW also called for clarity on the requirement that the carrying-on of R&D needs to be the primary objective of the customer in engaging the contractor if the customer is to claim the associated R&D tax relief. 

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