Is there a case for a registration/accreditation system for R&D tax advisers?


David Ward

David Ward

Tax Partner


Whilst professional and ethical standards apply to members of the professional bodies such as the CIOT and ICAS, there is currently no requirement for an R&D tax adviser to be a member of such a body, or to have any particular qualifications. 

To quote Andrew Hubbard, editor in chief of Taxation Magazine: “I have seen R&D work of the highest quality from firms large and small, but I have also seen claims that have little or no credibility and which, in some cases, come close to fraud. There is a real problem when a reputable firm looks objectively at a client’s business and concludes no qualifying R&D is carried on, only to find the client has gone elsewhere and submitted a claim which could not possibly be defended were HMRC to investigate it fully.” 

I am very proud of the advice and approach of the Innovation Taxes team that I lead.  We have over 30 years’ combined experience in assisting with R&D claims, a deep understanding of the legislation and accompanying guidance, along with the expertise to understand its practical application. 

There is a genuine concern that the continued growth of poor quality claims and unscrupulous R&D agents could put the long term viability of the reliefs at risk. 

We will continue to contribute to consultations on this matter, with the hope of raising standards across the industry and ensuring that the tax reliefs available reach their intended targets and that companies are not being misled into making inappropriate claims.