Northern Ireland companies have received £75m in HMRC R&D tax credit funding, according to Research and Development (R&D) tax specialists, Amplifi Solutions.
Statistics for 2017/18 released today by HMRC show that Northern Ireland companies claimed on average £57,000 – compared to £46,000 this time last year.
Across the UK, 73% of the total amount claimed for 2017-18 came from the manufacturing, scientific and technical and ICT sectors.
Amplifi Solutions says that its own figures show that in Northern Ireland, these sectors account for a similar share of total claims.
While the new figures show a growth in the use of the R&D tax credit scheme by Northern Ireland businesses, by comparison, Scottish companies claimed £175m, Welsh companies £95m and English companies £3.9bn.
Chris Maylin, Managing Partner at Amplifi Solutions, said: “More and more companies in Northern Ireland are availing of R&D tax credits which is fantastic news, but there are still so many who aren’t claiming what they should be.
“If your company is undertaking any form of research or development, we strongly recommend that you investigate whether this government incentive is available to you.
“Innovation can occur in any company, if a business is creating or changing an existing product, service or process; they could qualify for the R&D tax credit scheme – even if their innovation fails. It’s a support avenue that offers SMEs up to 24.7p for every qualifying £1 spent on R&D, a significant return that has helped fund many innovation projects.”
The tax breaks were introduced in 2000 by the government to encourage and reward R&D within limited companies and PLCs.
Commenting on the findings, Stephen Kelly, Chief Executive of Manufacturing NI, said: “Whilst it is encouraging to see an increase in the number of claims made by Northern Ireland companies, it is still surprising to see how much firms are missing out on.
“Every day we see incredible examples of innovation across the manufacturing industry in Northern Ireland. This is heavily underpinned by R&D – be it through investing in people and skills, new equipment, improved products or processes. Given the amount of challenges being presented by Brexit, incenitves such as these could prove particularly useful for firms across Northern Ireland.”