top of page

Which expenditure qualifies for R&D Tax credit

You can claim the expenditure credit on some of the costs you incur from the start to the end of the R&D project.

R&D starts when work begins to resolve the scientific or technological uncertainty and ends when that uncertainty is resolved, or the work to resolve it stops.

The following information will tell you which costs you can and cannot claim for.

Consumable items

You can claim for the relevant proportion of consumable items used up in the R&D, this includes:

  • fuel

  • materials

  • power

  • water

You cannot claim the costs if you sell or transfer ownership of the consumable items used up in the R&D.

Clinical trials volunteers

For R&D projects in the pharmaceutical industry, you can claim for payments made to the subjects of clinical trials.

Contributions for independent R&D

You can claim for contributions made for independent R&D, as long as you’re a large company.

The person receiving the contribution must be:

  • a qualifying body

  • an individual

  • a firm whose members are all individuals

They cannot be connected to your company.

The contributions made by you for the independent R&D must:

  • be relevant to your trade

  • not be sub-contracted by your company

You cannot claim any contributions if you’re a SME.

Data licence and cloud computing

For accounting periods beginning on or after 1 April 2023, qualifying expenditure is extended to include the relevant elements of data licence costs and cloud computing costs.

A data licence is a licence to access and use a collection of digital data.

Cloud computing includes:

  • data storage

  • hardware facilities

  • operating systems

  • software platforms

You can claim for most data and cloud computing costs spent on R&D.

Externally provided worker costs

Workers supplied by a staff provider such as an employment agency, are classed as externally provided workers.

You can:

  • claim 100% of the relevant payments, if your company and the staff provider are connected

  • claim 65% of the relevant payments made to a staff provider, which is not connected to your company, if they supply externally provided workers for the project

Staff costs

For staff working directly on the R&D project, you can claim for the following costs, as long as they relate to R&D:

  • bonuses

  • salaries

  • wages

  • pension fund contributions

  • secondary Class 1 National Insurance contributions paid by the company

In specific circumstances you may also claim for an element of administrative or support staff who work to directly support a project, for example:

  • human resources used to recruit a specific person to work on the project

  • specialist cleaning staff

These are known as qualifying indirect activities.

The following are some examples of staff costs that you cannot claim for:

  • redundancy payments

  • staff costs for clerical or maintenance work that would have been done anyway, like managing payroll


You can claim for software licence fees for R&D and a reasonable share of the costs for software partly used in your R&D activities.

Subcontractor costs

Subcontracted expenditure cannot be claimed unless it’s directly undertaken by:

  • a qualifying body, for example a charity, higher education institute, scientific research organisation or health service body

  • an individual

  • a firm where each member is an individual

Examples of costs that do not qualify

The following are other examples of costs that you cannot claim for:

  • the production and distribution of goods and services

  • capital expenditure

  • the cost of land

  • the cost of patents and trademarks

  • rent or rates

8 views0 comments

Get Growise App solution for the ambitious & efficient business

Learn More 

Never miss an update

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page