Subcontracting: The rules & how they're applied in practice

About the course

Description & Aims

Subcontracting is one of the most complex parts of the R&D scheme. Not only are there lots of rules about which companies can claim under which scheme, but HMRC’s approach can be quite different to what you might expect.

After taking this course, you’ll understand not only the rules of subcontracting, but will have a greater awareness of how these can be applied in practice.

This will help you to avoid making problematic or weak claims, and to work out whether the claim belongs to the subcontractor or the company commissioning the work.


In this course we cover:

  • The rules for an SME subcontracting all or part of its R&D
  • The rules for connected subcontractors
  • What makes companies connected
  • The problem of ‘double-dipping’, and HMRC’s approach to avoiding it
  • Contracts, activities vs services, and routine work
  • The rules for Large Companies

The course is structured as a series of short videos, with a brief quiz after each one, to test your knowledge.

01: Introduction

Ready to take the course?

Our Membership

Interested in taking the training?

All our training courses are available to members of The R&D Community. Our monthly subscription includes video-based training courses with full reporting, assessments and oversight for your team.

We also have support services which can help you with tricky eligibility conversations, screening clients and all aspects of claims and enquiries.

Course Stats


minutes of video


assessment questions


verifiable CPD units

02: HMRC’s current approach to subcontracting

Want to watch one of the course videos for free?

This video provides an overview of the two most common subcontracting scenarios relating to your R&D clients, and how HMRC views them.

Get extra help with claims that involve subcontracting


R&D Helpline

As a member of The R&D Community you’ll get access to our R&D Helpline. If you’re working at any stage of a claim and you’re having difficulty you can call, email or WhatsApp us for a second opinion.

We’ll get back to you quickly with an answer, so you can keep making progress. You can ask us about HMRC’s guidance, about the course, about your claim or the report you’re writing, or anything else you need.

If your query is more complex, we’ll talk about our Claim Support options and any other resources you may need.


Claim Support

As a member you also get access to our affordable Claim Support service. For example, if you’re having trouble figuring out what specific costs can be claimed for, we can arrange a time to chat and help you figure it out.

Or if you’re unfortunate enough to get an enquiry, we can help there too. We can review the claim you submitted and give an opinion on any potential red flags, and the best approach to defending it. You can even ask us to review drafts of your responses to HMRC, to make sure they’re word perfect.