Resources: R&D tax relief for construction sector

Introducing a new advice section from Place North West, called Place Resources. Contributor Cowgill Holloway Property & Construction urges contractors to challenge the common perception that tax refunds are 'too good to be true'.

Laura DugganResearch & Development Tax Relief is still disregarded by many construction companies as irrelevant when, in actual fact, it could provide a valuable cashflow boost, writes Laura Duggan.

To say R&D Tax Credits 'aren't just for men in lab coats' has become something of a cliché but, nevertheless, it's a perfectly apt phrase for the construction industry. In fact only 1% of claims in the year ending 2012 originated from the sector – a figure that illustrates a stark lack of awareness rather than a question of eligibility.

It is important to bear in mind that research and development is classed as an advance in a specific field, achieved through the resolution of a technical uncertainty.

Over the last few years, Cowgill Holloway Property & Construction have worked with many construction companies who initially assumed their day-to-day activities wouldn't touch on R&D when, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Indeed, qualifying expenditure can be just as easily generated from everyday onsite problem solving as through a planned project to increase efficiency.

Have a quick look at the below; if you've engaged in any of these activities (or something similar) over the last 3 years, you could be eligible for a significant sum in tax credits:

  • Investigation related to the removal of contamination from sites, including land remediation
  • Advancements in structural techniques to aid construction on unusual ground conditions
  • Innovative use of green or sustainable technology and methods
  • Development or adaptation of tools to improve efficiency
  • The use of new or unique materials, e.g. recycled products
  • Improvement on existing construction methods or development of new ideas to solve ongoing issues related to the site environment or project specifications
  • Innovative architectural design
  • Development of bespoke software

To date, Cowgill Holloway Property & Construction's R&D tax experts have claimed over £15m for clients (including loss-making SMEs) working on a no-win no-fee basis. As a result investigating the possibility of a claim is a low risk, high reward exercise.
Our sector knowledge will ensure that you receive maximum entitlement plus we provide proactive advice to identify R&D expenditure at an early stage as you undertake future projects.

We are urging construction companies to change the prevailing attitude that such refunds are 'too good to be true' and 'only applicable to other industries' and strongly suggest investigating this generous tax relief as soon as possible.

  • Laura Duggan is Head of R&D Tax Relief for Cowgill Holloway Property & Construction. She can be contacted at or on 01204 414 243 to organise a free, no-obligation consultation.
  • Place Resources is a new service from Place North West, soon to have its own section on the website, and is available to advisors in particular fields on an exclusive basis, subject to agreement. Contact Paul Unger, editor of Place North West, on to request a synopsis.

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