A graphic showcasing WhisperClaims' app updates relating to producing HMRC-compliant reports

Preparing HMRC-compliant documents using WhisperClaims

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According to our users, and general industry opinion, the hardest part of preparing a claim for R&D tax relief is preparing a robust, compliant report to support the financial aspects of the claim. Happily, this is exactly what WhisperClaims was designed to do! Before I get into the details of how this is done, let’s take a moment to talk about what we mean by compliant documents.

What do we mean by ‘compliant’?

This is an interesting question in the context of the R&D tax relief scheme. In fact, one of the dirty little secrets of the scheme is that there is no mandatory requirement for any kind of narrative or technical justification for the figures. However, having said that, submitting claims without a technical report is a very risky strategy—such claims are far, far more likely to be investigated by HMRC. Preparing a report is also a great way to ensure that you’ve asked your client all of the right questions to fully assess eligibility. 

So, in this context, by ‘compliant’ we mean covering all of the key areas that constitute technical eligibility, and the questions that we know HMRC ask in every enquiry that they open. 

What should a compliant report cover?

We’ve written before about what to include in a technical report, but in brief a report should cover HMRC’s four key criteria for eligibility:

  • Which areas of science and technology are being advanced by the projects?
  • What technical advances are being made during the projects?
  • What are the technical difficulties inherent to the project?
  • Was the project carried out by competent professionals?

How does WhisperClaims produce HMRC ‘compliant’ reports?

To understand how WhisperClaims can produce a robust report that complies with all HMRC’s unofficial requirements, we have to step back and look at the question set. This was designed to delve into all the important aspects of a claim and represents over twenty years of combined experience of preparing R&D tax relief claims. That means that once you’ve answered all of the questions, it’s (relatively!) easy to turn all of this information into a report that ticks all of the boxes!

How to write an R&D tax relief technical narrative

With HMRC’s new mandatory requirement for project descriptions on all submissions, we wanted to share our experiences to help others to write their best possible technical narratives.

Available to download here.

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