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R&D Tax Credit

Apply for Research & Development Tax Credit Advance Assurance

You don't have to go it alone, the Sapphire team are here to help. This is where Sapphire can help you. We will complete the application, answer your questions, help you get to grips with what is required for a successful Research & Development Tax Credit Advance Assurance application, and answer any follow-up questions HMRC might have.

Expert support team
Simple process
Fast execution
99% Success rate
All in one package
Payment upon success


of every £1 spent on qualifying R&D activities can be claimed by SMEs.


claimed back by SMEs on average in 2021 (ForrestBrown report)



Carefully reviewed by our expert

Bronagh makes sure your application complies with the latest HMRC guidelines to get you the most reliable approval possible.

Bronagh is passionate about helping early-stage companies get access to investments that can help them grow. Bronagh works with various companies and funds but has a particular interest in ESG and female-led companies.

Bronagh helps companies prepare for investment and growth through the Venture Capital Tax schemes - SEIS, EIS, SITR and VCT. Bronagh also assists with Sapphire's compliance. Prior to joining Sapphire, Bronagh held financial service roles in a range of businesses from finance, accounting and investment analysis. Bronagh obtained her Bachelors of Science in Finance and Investment Analysis from Ulster University with Honours.

Flexible pricing

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  Perfect for claiming R&D Tax Credit         
Standard R&D Tax Credit Advance Assurance

Everything you need to claim your R&D tax credit from HMRC

Fees on application

What's included?
  • We check whether you qualify for R&D Tax Credits
  • We estimate the potential credit you will receive
  • We prepare the HMRC documents
  • We make the HMRC application
  • We answer all HMRC's questions
  • We obtain your R&D Advance Assurance
How it works
  1. Book a call and check your eligibility
  2. Send us your pitch deck & business plan
  3. Our R&D Tax Credit expert will review everything
  4. Email it all to HMRC for fast approval

Frequently asked questions

How does R&D tax credit work?

R&D tax credits are a tax relief designed to encourage greater R&D spending, leading in turn to greater investment in innovation. They work by either reducing a company’s liability to corporation tax or through a cash payment to the company.
In order for your company to claim their R&D costs, you will need to file an R&D claim with HMRC for the costs relating to the qualifying R&D projects, you can make claims going back 2 accounting periods.
The size of the R&D claim will depend on your total qualifying expenditure as well as the type of expenditure. Some will allow you to claim a higher percentage (employee costs) than others (subcontractor costs). Finally, some expenditures, such as rent, won’t qualify for R&D at all.

What are the R&D tax credit rates?

The scheme allows companies to claim back up to 33% of the money they spent on research and development. It can even be claimed on unsuccessful projects.

What's the R&D tax credit processing time?

On average, it would take HMRC 4-6 weeks to process your R&D claim and in the case of payable tax credits, another 1 week for the money to arrive in the nominated bank account after the claim has been submitted.

How far back can you claim R&D tax credits?

R&D relief must be claimed within 2 years of the accounting period the R&D took place. For example if your accounting year end is 31 December 2019 you have until 31 December 2021 to submit your claim. This means you are able to submit an amended tax return for a previous period if you may have missed out on potential tax credits or tax savings.

What's the R&D tax credit criteria?

First and foremost, any company participating in any kind of R&D (and R&D is a very broad definition, far from being only software or deep tech) is very likely eligible for claiming back up to 33% of your expenditure on R&D in the form of corporation tax deduction or cash payments from HMRC.

To qualify the company must be carrying out R&D work in the field of science or technology. The relief is not just for ‘white coat’ scientific research but also for ‘brown coat’ development work in design and engineering that involves overcoming difficult technological problems.

The qualified R&D work must be part of a specific project to make an advance in science or technology. It cannot be in a theoretical field – such as pure maths.

The project must be clearly related to your company’s trade – either an existing one, or one that you intend to start based on the results of the R&D.

There are a few elements you’ll need to demonstrate in your R&D claim to show how your project:

1. Looked for an advance in science and technology
2. Had to overcome uncertainty
3. Tried to overcome this uncertainty
4. Could not be easily worked out by a competent professional in the field

How to claim R&D tax credits?

R&D tax credits are claimed through your Company Tax Return (CT600) which is normally submitted on an annual basis and based on the figures from your Statutory Company Accounts.

There are two components of an R&D claim and they are submitted as appendices to the Company Tax Return.

Technical Narrative

Your Technical Narrative is a document that has two main purposes. First of all it is used to justify why the work done by the company qualifies for R&D tax relief. It should outline the work done by the company, which technical uncertainties were encountered and how you attempted to overcome them. You do not need to be successful in overcoming these uncertainties to qualify for R&D tax relief, an aborted project or work done before a change in direction will still qualify.

Secondly it is used to justify the size of your claim by outlining the number of projects that took place in the period, the amount of time spent on those projects (employees or contractors) and any other expenditure that may be relevant.

R&D Calculations

This is a breakdown of costs and the percentage of those costs that relate to R&D. It should include any qualifying costs relating to employment (Salaries, Employer National Insurance and Employer Pension Contributions), contractors, software, consumables, prototypes and any other relevant expenditure. These figures are then used to calculate and show the uplift on your tax allowable R&D expenditure and the size of the tax credit or tax saving

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What are the R&D tax credit qualifying expenses?

Direct R&D staff costs

You can claim for Gross Salaries, Employer NI Contributions and Employer Pension Contributions for your PAYE employees engaged in your R&D project. This covers employees who undertake ‘hands on’ R&D work and the proportion of supervisory and managerial time spent specifically directing such employees in those activities.

Support staff costs, for example administrative or clerical staff, do not qualify, except when they relate to qualifying indirect activities. These can be activities like maintenance, clerical, administrative and security work.

Externally provided R&D staff

You can usually claim up to 65% of the payments made to the staff provider, in a case where your staff costs are paid to an external agency. Here as well, the eligible costs are for staff who are engaged in the R&D project.

Subcontracted R&D

SME Scheme: You can generally claim for up to 65% of the payments made to subcontractors. The subcontracted work may be further subcontracted to any third party.

RDEC Scheme: R&D expenditure subcontracted to other persons is generally not allowable unless it is directly undertaken by a charity, higher education institute, scientific research organisation or health service body — or by an individual or a partnership of individuals.

Consumable items

You can claim for the cost of items that are directly employed and consumed in qualifying R&D projects. These include materials and the proportion of water, fuel and power consumed in the R&D process. Costs of materials incorporated in products that are sold are not eligible for relief.


You can claim for the cost of software that is directly employed in the R&D activity. Where software is only partly employed in direct R&D, an appropriate apportionment should be made.


If you are creating a prototype to test the R&D being undertaken, the design, construction and testing costs will normally be qualifying expenses. However, if the prototype is also built with a view to selling the prototype itself (such as the construction of a bespoke machine), this will be considered as a production and outside the R&D scheme.

In that case you need to work out the split between R&D expenditure and production costs. For example, the construction costs and materials consumed would not be qualifying expenses, but design, modelling and testing costs could still qualify.

Clinical trial volunteers

Pharmaceutical companies and research organisations often make payments to volunteers taking part in clinical trials.

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Unlimited free support

Our experts are here to support you at every stage. You can call or email us or book a meeting below.

Apply for SEIS & EIS Assurance

HMRC offer EIS & SEIS advance assurance to companies seeking to raise funding in the future.

This is where Sapphire can help you. We will complete the application, answer your questions, help you get to grips with what is required for a successful SEIS & EIS Advance Assurance application, and answer any follow-up questions HMRC might have.

Apply for Start-up or Innovator Visa

The Start-up and Innovator visa categories are for non-European Economic Area nationals wishing to set up a business in the UK.

To qualify for a visa, applicants must obtain an endorsement from an approved endorsing body - such as Sapphire Capital Partners LLP.

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