From the autumn statement:
- Italy’s interest rates are now 7.2% … And what are ours? … They are less than 2.5%
- Yesterday, we were even borrowing money more cheaply than Germany
- Italy’s rates have gone up by almost 3% in the last year alone
- we will increase the State Pension Age from 66 to 67 … Germany [has] taken similar steps
- extending support to British mid-caps who can sometimes lack the overseas ambition of their German equivalents
and then …
- It’s no good endlessly comparing ourselves with other European countries
PS: Fair enough, I took that last one a little out of context … but nevertheless, comparison when it suits, refusal to compare when it doesn’t. Can’t say I’m over-excited by the proposed employment law changes.
IP tax highlights (more to follow when I’m back from Chicago and have time to see the detail):
- will introduce a new ‘above the line’ research and development tax credit in 2013 that will increase its visibility and generosity (devil, detail, etc – but arguably the large company relief needs something doing to it, it’s almost useless)
- non-tax: funds for smaller technology firms in Britain who find it difficult to turn their innovations into commercial success
- non-tax: almost half a billion pounds for scientific projects, from supercomputing and satellite technology to a world-beating animal health laboratory
In a report (pdf, on the SMMT website) published this week (and you have to love a report that starts with a quote from Julius Caesar), the manufacturing & motor associations EEF and SMMT call for changes to the R&D tax relief. They’re looking for a “cash benefit or redeemable credit at the point R&D costs arise”, rather than a “relatively opaque offset against corporation tax payments”.
HMRC have kicked off their R&D voluntary advance assurance pilot, previously trailed in the summer consultation.
The pilot is available to small companies only (those with fewer than 50 employees) making their first R&D relief claim. HMRC will assign volunteer companies to an R&D Relief expert, to provide support and advice on putting a claim together.
The aim of the pilot is to agree a basis for the first R&D claim and claims for the two subsequent accounting periods; where the claims are made on the agreed basis, there should no query from HMRC in respect of those three R&D claims. It’s not absolutely clear, but it seems that the agreement is on a per-company basis rather than a per-project basis – HMRC is presumably hoping that these very small companies will have no more than one R&D project at a time.
Companies wanting to take part in the pilot should contact their specialist R&D Relief unit – more details on the HMRC announcement page.
Editor’s note: I’d be interested to hear from any companies that take part in the pilot – what was the process like, has it made it easier to deal with R&D, that sort of thing.