Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) members have reported considerable delays in HMRC's processing of Research and Development (R&D) claims, affecting both SME R&D relief and R&D expenditure credit (RDEC) claims. Expected processing time of 4 to 6 weeks has turned into 4 to 6 months.

The ICAEW's Tax Faculty has raised the issue with HMRC and has received the following response.

‘A combination of recent staff losses and very high volumes of claims has meant that we have been unable to turn around claims as quickly as we would like. We’re constantly reviewing our processes to manage peaks, and we’re currently taking the following actions to reduce delays:

  • A recovery plan is in place to bring payable tax credits back on track, while tackling the backlog of RDEC payments
  • We have redeployed staff from other work areas and recruited new staff to speed up processing and payments
  • We are committed to keeping agents updated on the latest position, with a weekly update to Research and Development Consultative Committee members. We have also introduced updated ‘auto response’ messaging to emails sent to the R&D mailbox, to keep our customers informed.

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