Olly NewmanR&D Technical Manager

HMRC will seek to make R&D tax-credit payments to SMEs within 28 days of a claim being submitted. But the time it takes to process a claim will vary depending on the size, scale, and complexity of your business. Seasonal workloads can also affect processing times, and it is becoming increasingly common for HMRC to halt payments altogether in order to give R&D claims greater scrutiny.

Why were R&D payments paused?

In May 2022, HMRC paused all R&D tax-credit payments in order to implement new measures to combat abuse of R&D tax credits. This is part of an ongoing trend to give R&D tax credit claims proper scrutiny, ensuring that each claim is robust and backed by proper assessments and evidence. At Kene Partners, we welcome the extra diligence to tackle fraud and abuse of the vital government incentives, but we also acknowledge that the suspended payments and extra measures are likely to increase processing times for a number of legitimate claims.

HMRC usually formally notify relevant agents, and declare any internal process-changes that are likely to affect repayments and processing-times. Seasonal workloads, based around companies’ financial year-ends (most commonly March, September, and December) can also affect processing-times at HMRC’s side.

With a range of reformations to the way R&D tax credits are claimed processed, there has never been a more vital time to review your R&D process to ensure all claims are accurate and robust.

You can read more about delays to HMRC R&D tax payments here. 

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