Case study: HMRC R&D enquiry

HMRC letters

Case study takeaways:

  • Our client provides e-learning services internationally and they developed an online educational platform specialising in IELTS
  • haysmacintyre worked with the client to prepare a response to HMRC following an enquiry, defending their R&D work
  • HMRC accepted both claims on our first response with no further amendments

The challenge

Guided E-Learning (GEL) is an online service for English language schools and IELTS, supporting data-driven teaching and personalised learning. Its proprietary technology generates personalised assignments, testing and performance tracking to aid students and teachers alike, bringing innovation and advancing capabilities in this sector. As such, GEL has developed an online educational platform which specialises in providing tailored learning to IELTS and English language learning students across the globe.

However, HMRC has been casting a wide net over R&D claimants – in particular, targeting software development, which nowadays touches a number of industry sectors, including education. In many cases, such compliance checks are made without appearing to reference or review the submitted R&D supporting information. Even more troubling for clients, is that HMRC can also make additional information requests, not required for the original claim.

The solution

GEL had worked our specialist R&D team to prepare and submit their R&D claims. However, HMRC raised enquiries into two of GEL’s most recent R&D claims. Following this, haysmacintyre’s R&D and Tax Disputes & Resolutions teams worked collaboratively to build the appropriate defence, guide and support our client throughout the process. A strong response was collated with the required supporting evidence, setting out a robust defence of the GEL’s research and development work, which was delivered to HMRC within the required time frame.

The result

Our client received closure notices on both R&D claims within our first response to HMRC, with no further amendments to their R&D claims. Consequently, GEL can now focus on their R&D qualifying work with the comforting knowledge that tax relief is available.

What our client had to say

“haysmacintyre took what could have been a very stressful situation and handled it with competence and care. When working with us to submit our R&D claim, they were careful to understand our business, and to help us communicate our project. When the HMRC enquiry came in, they were able to use that understanding to quickly and effectively respond. I would highly recommend the whole team.”

David Coarsey, Director, Guided E-Learning Ltd

We know that HMRC is aggressively raising enquiries on small, but innovative, businesses which aim to disrupt their chosen sector. In many cases, this is raising the administrative bar too high for businesses which are in their development and early growth stage, to manage on their own. Providing a well-structured defence can be very difficult without the aid of specialist support – this is where haysmacintyre can help.

We support clients with their R&D claims across all sectors, including education, technology and more. For further advice or to start your claim, contact Danielle Ford, Partner and Head of Tax Disputes & Resolutions, or Sophy Ghosh, Assistant Manager.

Danielle Ford

Partner, Head of Tax Disputes & Resolutions
+44 20 7969 5591
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