HMRC have introduced an Advance Assurance for companies that claim Research and Development (R&D) tax relief.  

If advance assurance is granted, HMRC will not enquire into R&D tax claims made in the first three accounting periods.

The application for Advance Assurance must be made using form CT R&D (AA) which is only available online. 

After requesting any additional information they need or discussing the company's activities in more detail with an individual nominated by the company, HMRC will either send an agreement letter setting out the company's responsibilities and granting Advance Assurance for three accounting periods or a letter advising the reasons why Advance Assurance is not being granted.

The application is voluntary and can be made after the R&D activity has already begun.

A company can apply for Advance Assurance if it:

  • Has not claimed R&D tax relief before.
  • Has an annual turnover of £2 million or less.
  • Has fewer than 50 employees.

A company cannot apply for Advance Assurance if it:

  • Is part of a group which has already made a claim for R&D.
  • Has entered into a Disclosure Of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) scheme.
  • Is a corporate serious defaulter.

This is part of HMRC's programme to make R&D easier and more accessible to small businesses. For our summary of HMRC's administrative framework see Making R&D easier.


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