With that in mind, you’re no doubt putting a rush on any pending claims to skip the extra admin. But for any claims that you can’t squeeze in over the next month, you’ll need to be ready for the new form.
We’ve outlined everything you need to know to access and use the form before the deadline arrives.
Setting up an Agent Services Account
To fill in an Additional Information Form for your client, you need an Agent Services Account with HMRC. This is the online portal which was set up to support Making Tax Digital. HMRC are now using it to support other services too – like these new forms.
If you’re an accountant, you may already have Online Agent Authorisation for your clients. This allows you to submit Corporation Tax returns to HMRC through Gov.uk or through commercial accounting software. This is entirely separate from the Agent Services Account.
- If you want to submit the CT600 and the AIF, you’ll need both the Online Agent Authorisation and the Agent Services Account.
- If you only want to submit the Additional Information Form, because you’re an R&D consultant, you’ll only need the Agent Services Account.
Not sure which kind of account you need? HMRC lists out the tools available under the two types of account. As of the publication of this article, the R&D tax relief Additional Information Form has not yet been added to the list under the Agent Services Account.
You can visit this page to set up an Agent Services Account.
If you’re already registered as an agent of any kind with HMRC, you can go ahead and create an account. If this will be your first agent account, you will need to register by post before you do anything else.
It’s also worth noting that, in a pinch, your client can submit the Additional Information Form through their own account. You should never ask them for their log in details. Instead, you should give them all the details to input into the form. In the long term, we do not recommend taking this approach as standard practice. However, this info may be useful if you have a tight deadline for a date after 1 August and are unable to submit the claim before the form becomes mandatory.
Sort out your AML registration
You need to include details of your Anti-Money Laundering registration when applying for your Agent Services Account. In HMRC’s eyes, anyone who prepares and submits R&D claims is giving tax advice. This means it’s essential that you’re registered and performing the right AML checks.
If you’re an accountant, or a member of one of the PCRT bodies, you’re probably on top of this already. If you’re not, you can register directly with HMRC.
Read our recent article to find out what’s required of advisors and how to get registered.
Review the Additional Information form in advance
The Additional Information Form has already been created and is available online. You can use it to submit claims before 1 August if you’re keen to get started. Or, you can go through it using data from a past claim. This lets you figure out how your existing report templates and other processes fit into this new structure.
You won’t find a link to the form in your Agent Services Account just yet. Instead, you’ll head to HMRC’s explainer page and click the button to ‘start now’. We expect HMRC to make it much easier to access the form once it becomes mandatory.
From 1 August, HMRC will reject any claims included on a CT600 form unless an Additional Information Form has already been submitted. If you’re thinking ‘shouldn’t there be some kind of grace period?’ then yes, there is one. We’re in it right now!
From our experience testing, we’ve found it’s much easier to draft your responses in a separate document and then transfer them into the form. That might give you added motivation to update your current report templates and processes to make sure you have all the information ready.
If you have everything to hand, it can take 20-30 minutes to complete the form, longer if you’re chasing up details. You can also save the form and come back to it whenever you need to, and you can save a copy of all your responses. We recommend you do so every time before you submit, as submissions aren’t available to view after the fact.
Take some training on R&D tax relief and the new rules
HMRC have shared a detailed list of all the different fields and questions in the form. There’s a lot to cover! You’ll need to break down the claim into distinct projects. If there are up to 3 projects, you’ll have to give details for all of them. If there are more than 3, you’ll need to give details for enough of them to cover at least half of the expenditure you’re claiming for. For each one, you’ll need to give details on expenditure, the baseline, advance, and technical uncertainties.
If you come across any fields or questions that you’re not sure how to answer, that’s a clear sign you may need to update your knowledge of R&D tax relief. Luckily, The R&D Community has all the training resources you need to do so.
As well as our course giving full details and guidance on how to complete the Additional Information Form, we also have a full range of other courses in our training academy. We cover the basics of R&D tax relief through to more advanced and specific aspects of the scheme.
We (and our members) recommend our courses Qualifying Costs and Apportionments and Establishing Eligibility as a good jumping off point. They’ll give you the groundwork on the key concepts needed to get started with submitting claims. All of our courses are available exclusively to members of The R&D Community. We also have a taster course available to see if our training is right for you.
Make sure your client knows what to expect
Once you’re comfortable with the Additional Information Form, you need to make sure your clients know what to expect from you. Some may have heard about the changes and need reassurance that you’re on top of things. Many more will not have heard of the updated system, so you’ll need to fill them in on what information they need to provide to HMRC.
Before you submit the form on their behalf, we recommend that you show them the completed copy that you’ve saved from the system. This lets your client review it and give their final approval. It’s always important to make sure the client has full visibility of the claim at every stage of the process. Unless they’re fully involved in the claim, their risk of receiving a penalty after an enquiry could significantly increase.
Keep up to date with changes to the scheme
The introduction of the new Additional Information Form is just one of the many changes to R&D tax relief we’re expecting to see in the next 12 months. HMRC will soon release draft legislation to combine the SME and Large Company schemes into a single set of rules, with changes to the guidance expected across the board. The sooner you start learning about these changes, the better equipped you’ll be to deal with them.
Over the summer, we’ll be supporting our members to ensure that they fully understand the draft legislation, and we’ll gather their feedback to submit to the consultation. We want our members to immediately feel comfortable with the new rules when they come into effect.
We’ll also continue to offer training and support throughout the year so they can continue to effectively manage enquiries, claims, and all things R&D. If this support and training sounds appealing, now’s the perfect time to sign up. You’ll have access to our newest course as soon as it’s released, as well as our full range of other materials.
- Explore the full details of our membership,
- Download our Prospectus to share with your team,
- Sign up for membership today!
We also provide a regular newsletter which contains up-to-date information on consultations and changes to HMRC guidance.