Fancy a boost from the taxman?

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Its not often the taxman gives you money, but heres a chance to give your company a competitive edge with a helping hand from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

If your company carries out innovative work in the manufacturing sector, or has a research and development section, then you could be eligible for tax credits, which could reduce your tax bill or, in certain circumstances, give you a cash payment.

Either way, it could help your company fund technological breakthroughs, helping it to grow and prosper and get ahead of the competition.

HM Revenue & Customs Head of Cambridge Research & Development Tax Credit unit, Iain Rickerby said: If your company is involved in Research & Development, give HMRC a call to find out if you might qualify for funding.  We can advise you on the application process and answer any questions you may have.

Research and development tax credits were first introduced in 2000 to promote investment in innovation. They are open to businesses of all sizes, but HMRC is urging more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to take advantage of this type of tax relief.

Its never been easier to claim and seven specialist HMRC Units have been set up across the country to help companies make successful claims to the relief.

Specialist units across the UK:

Cardiff:                      029 2032 7003/7026

Cambridge:               01223 442534

Maidstone:                 01622 760403

Leicester:                   0116 2535400

Southampton:            02380 204253

Manchester:               0161 288 6118

Croydon:                    0208 633 4307

The Units are happy to visit companies and help them put their claim together, flagging up opportunities they might otherwise miss and making the whole process simpler and pain-free.

More than 4,500 SMEs are already claiming in excess of 250 million each year in tax credits.

The tax relief works by allowing companies to deduct up to 150 per cent of their qualifying expenditure when calculating their profit for tax purposes.  This is set to rise to 175 per cent next year.  Qualifying expenditure includes: staff costs, consumable items and software, which is directly related to R&D activities.

So how do you know if your company is eligible and how do you apply?

To be in the running, your company must be carrying out qualifying research and development and this must aim to achieve an advance in overall knowledge or capability in the science or technology field. It has to extend overall knowledge or create a process, material or device and this cant just be within the company, it needs to be much wider. A full definition of research and development for these purposes is provided by the Business, Enterprise, and Regulatory Reform Department (formerly the DTI).

The company can be a SME or a large company - either can apply for research and development tax relief, but there are separate schemes depending on your size.

If you think you might be eligible and want to find out more go to http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/randd/index.htm.  It is also worth looking at www.hmrc.gov.uk/randd/top10-error.htm to avoid common mistakes and speed up your claim.

With the vast majority of companies receiving their payable tax credits within a month of a successful claim, the big question is can you afford not to apply? Do it today and take a step towards making your company more successful.

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