Sage LakhaniHead of Consulting

Having started her career with PwC London, Sage has previously held positions at two boutique tax consultancies working with entrepreneurs and growing businesses. She is also a qualified Chartered Tax Adviser.

A ‘competent professional’ is the legislative designation for a person in your business who is well-placed to assess your R&D projects. This includes the boundaries of your R&D; the scientific/technological uncertainty that you faced; and the fundamental developments that occurred in relation to the scientific/technological capabilities at the outset.

What job role are they likely to have?

The competent professional(s) is more likely to have a technical job-title and remit, rather than an organisational one (a developer, rather than a CEO, for example). If one of your competent professionals is preparing your R&D claim in-house, they will likely be responsible for defining and explaining:

  • the advance in science/technology;
  • all of the contributing eligible activities (including the boundaries of R&D); and
  • the apportionments of all the relevant costs and expenditure to these activities.

Why are they important in an R&D claim?

In the event of an HMRC enquiry, your competent professional’s assessments are likely to be probed and scrutinized. Whether you prepare your R&D claims in-house, or work with a specialist adviser, it is also not uncommon in claims under enquiry for HMRC to want to speak with the main competent professional(s) in your business in order to validate their assessments. If your R&D tax provider offers enquiry support as part of their service, then they can naturally bolster support in such cases; working with a specialist also ensures that all the right assessments are made in the first instance.