Image of high rise buildings covered in green plants and the title, Why aren't Architects Claiming R&D Tax Relief


Just Why Aren’t Architects Claiming R&D Tax Relief?



According to Jack Tindale, manager of the All-Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group, only 6% of architectural and design firms, who could apply for R&D Tax Relief, do.  Even worse, SME’s are even less likely to apply for them.


Britain has long prided itself on its innovative approach to business and ability to generate intellectual property.   A 2015 report from the Design Council found that:


  • The UK’s design industries employ approximately 580,000 people.  While even more designers (over 1 million) work across the UK in other industries.


  • The design sector is the ninth biggest employer in the UK.


  • Demand for design is high and growing. Between 2010 and 2014 design employment grew by 21.7%, compared to 6.1% for the UK economy.


  • The UK has the largest design sector in Europe, making it a strong asset post-Brexit.



Design in all its many forms is growing quickly and steadily, both in size and capability.  Yet despite this,  few firms, especially architectural firms, are applying for R&D tax reliefs.


What are the causes?

There are many reasons for this.  Many architects will fire-fight problems that occur on builds, that might otherwise have been expected to require a standard solution, by creating unique workarounds to resolve specific problems.  But they consider these bespoke adjustments for each site to simply be “part of the job”, when, in many cases, this may constitute R&D work.


Architectural firms are perpetually developing new or advancing established technologies to solve problems.  Both at the design stage and on site.  At the same time, they are increasingly facing a smorgasbord of challenges from less than suitable sites, to developing more eco-friendly builds and adapting new technologies and material for their own builds.  And in most cases they are resolving these issues through innovative approaches.  These approaches may qualify as R&D.


It’s also a common mistake to think that if a new approach is not successful, it doesn’t qualify. This is not the case.  Nor is it correct that your company must have a dedicated R&D department to qualify.


So, if you haven’t thought about R&D tax reliefs for your architectural firm, think again.  Get in touch with us if you’d like to know more and whether we can help you.


Further  reading  from Artisan Accounts

7 Corporation Tax Reliefs (for the creative sector)

8 Simple Ways to Reduce Capital Gains Tax

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