How distinct divisions identified opportunities in R&D tax credit and overcame their challenges
Barclays plc is a British multinational investment bank and financial services company, headquartered in London. Apart from investment banking, Barclays is organised into four core businesses: personal banking, corporate banking, wealth management, and investment management.
There are two main divisions within Barclays Bank with substantial IT departments. These divisions are GRCB and Barclays Capital. Barclays Capital had made an R&D claim in 2003. GRCB had not made an R&D claim previously.
When Barclays Capital had made a claim in 2003, the tax department as a whole felt uncomfortable with the process to identify projects and capture eligible costs. As a result, no claim was made in 2003 for Barclays Capital caused some uncertainty within the tax department as to whether HMRC would accept the claim.
Barclays did not feel confident that it had (a) properly identified R&D projects, (b) had adequate documentation to support the claim, and (c) had properly identified all eligible R&D costs.
RDP Associates was selected over other competitors, including the Big Four accounting firms, due to its experience and the knowledge of its staff. RDP brought with it 20 years of experience in assisting companies to make R&D claims.
Further, RDP consultants include academically competent and professionally accredited individuals in the field of technology. With regard to the software and IT developed by Barclays, RDP provided such individuals as Jeff Laks, who has been involved in hundreds of claims and was involved in setting the guidelines as to what constitutes R&D in the area of software/IT.
In addition, RDP was able to demonstrate its expertise by starting off with a small assignment to identify eligible R&D projects within GRCB. Within a short amount of time, RDP identified 12 large projects for the periods 2005 and 2006.
For each of the two departments, RDP took a two-phase approach. The first phase was to identify all eligible projects. In addition, a very rough estimate of the eligible costs was provided against the eligible projects. A report was then generated outlining this cost/benefit of proceeding.
Phase two involved an in-depth review of each project whereby RDP interviewed key technical primes. RDP assessed the projects against the DTI guidelines and the criteria to determine whether the project was eligible such as technological advancement, technological uncertainty, appreciable improvement, and systematic investigation.
During these interviews, RDP developed a “project description: which documented in writing why the project qualified as an R&D project within the DTI guidelines. In addition, RDP noted what documentation was available to support the R&D claim. This documentation not only included financial documentation such as salaries and labour allocation sheets but also included documentation which supports the technology development including minutes of meetings, documented IT revisions, emails, notes, and logs.
Once RDP had drafted its project descriptions and detailed the costs by project, it then carried out a final review with the technical primes to ensure that the facts as gathered by RDP were accurate and as described in the project descriptions and cost summaries.
The package was then assembled and RDP worked with the tax department within Barclays to prepare the necessary schedules to submit the R&D claim to HMRC.
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