This is a freeview 'At a glance' guide to Advance Assurance for Research and Development (R&D) tax relief.  

HMRC provide an Advance Assurance service 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 as long as they are in line with what was agreed with HMRC.

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:

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.

Useful guides on this topic

R&D Tax Relief: Overview
What is R&D Relief? How does it work? Why does the size of the company matter? What is sub-contracted R&D? How do I write an R&D Report?

R&D: SME Tax Credit scheme
What Research & Development (R&D) schemes are available for small and medium sized companies undertaking R&D? How to make an R&D claim? What are the qualifying costs and how much can be claimed?

R&D: 'Large Company' Scheme (RDEC) Guide
What is the R&D Expenditure Credit (RDEC) Large Company Scheme for R&D relief? How does it work?


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