There are a few essential considerations that come with hiring an R&D consultancy firm. However, it is a crucial decision that can lead to hundreds of thousands of pounds yearly, lost or gained. Hence, it is worth spending the time to pick right.
The following are issues you should take into account when hiring an R&D consultant:
General and Industry-Specific Tax Experience?
R&D tax credits are HMRC-administered tax incentive administered by HMRC, which means you should research the tax qualifications and experience of the consultant you’re eyeing. At the same time, R&D tax credits concern tax rules that are specific to your industry. Make sure the consultant you hire has that level of tax proficiency.
R&D Tax Credit Claims Completed
Find out how many R&D tax claims your potential consultant has submitted. To give you a context, the normal range is from 20 to 50 claims annually, but some accountancy practices are known to submit north of a thousand. Without a doubt, this experience is vital. A bad job can mean under-claiming or being challenged by HMRC.
Investment of Time?
Some consultants will spend a lot of time themselves getting to know your business, prepping the claim and doing the submission. Others just review forms and long documents that you yourself have compiled. Every case is different, but if yours is tying you down, then something is clearly not working right. Be wary of consultants who barely see you and even shut you out of the claim process. In the end, your R&D tax credit claim is your own responsibility, so make sure you know and agree to everything that’s in it.
Most consultants say they have a 100% success rate. What you really want to know it their enquiry rate. Anecdotally, the industry average is around 7-9% but this can go as low as 1-2%. Also find out if enquiry support is included in the fee that you have been quoted. If the answer is no, this might be a significant extra cost during a high-pressure moment when an enquiry is indeed called for.
First of all, look at the headline charges. Are all the costs already covered or are they collecting any secret additionals such as “”administration costs?” As mentioned, watch out for a separate charge for enquiry handling as well. They can quickly and surely add up. Also, do you have to sign a long-term contract with the consultant? Do they lack confidence that their service will make want to come back on your own volition? Lastly, find out how you can get out of that contract if you’re no longer satisfied, or if you actually have that option.