What Records are needed for an R&D Claim?

Unsurprisingly, the majority of organisations think about making a tax relief claim after they’ve done the work. This can lead to a mild panic as they wonder what documentation they might need to make a claim, and whether they have the documentation it takes to prove what they’ve done.

It is precisely because most people think about tax relief after the fact that there is no specific documentation or fixed record-keeping system expected by HMRC, especially if you’re claiming for the first time.

Apportioning staff time is a whole world unto itself in terms of evidence – read this post for some specific staff apportionment hints.

Our role, as R&D consultants, is to help you identify what documentation you already have that could support your claim. Although every organisation is different, you will have left a trail of information and data that can be used, and our expertise is thinking about what HMRC might consider as evidence for the work you’ve done on your behalf.

Calendar entries, meeting notes, emails and WhatsApps are all useful examples of evidence that can be used to make a case. 

However, if you are thinking about claiming R&D tax relief in the future and you’ve already claimed in the past, then you should take some time to think through documentation supporting your claim in advance – as by that point HMRC will consider you as ‘knowing better’ than those claiming historically. 

Good records look like timesheets, design intent documents, meeting minutes and tagged invoices within bookkeeping software. Ultimately, though, through your work with us, and as your understanding of what qualifies as R&D grows, it will be easier to set up systems and keep a record as you go with your R&D, saving you valuable time and effort in future claims.

Not sure if you have the right records for your claim? Get in touch here and let us help you build a robust argument.