With over £1 billion lost each year to error and fraud, the R&D tax world has come under increasing scrutiny. It started with investigations into fraudulent claims and now certain marketing practices are also in the firing line.
There are advisors promoting themselves on YouTube, claiming to help save businesses thousands – when in reality, they are simply encouraging their clients to lie. There have been wild over-estimations of the number of companies which could be eligible to make claims and equally dishonest promises about the level of funding which is available.
Other “rogue” R&D tax advisors have falsely claimed that they have a 100% success rate or even stated that they are endorsed by HMRC (there is no such endorsement).
Even legitimate advisors are being targeted
There have been incidences of genuine R&D tax advisors being targeted by HMRC because of outdated marketing materials which are still in circulation, which although no longer actively used, are deemed to be falling into the “false or misleading” category.
In a sector which is under such high levels of scrutiny, it’s more important than ever that R&D tax consultancies conduct a thorough audit of their marketing materials and ensure that anything which could be misconstrued is amended. Examples of common “false” claims include wording such as “free money”, “100% success rate”, “HMRC approved/recommended”, “X% of eligible companies don’t claim”….and so on. If in any doubt about your wording, it is best to err on the side of caution and steer away from any language which may be construed as a false or potentially unachievable promise.
To ensure full compliance and to promote the excellent work which so many upstanding companies undertake, we recommend hiring a dedicated marketing resource.
Good marketers with R&D tax experience are a niche talent pool but certainly not impossible to find! At Leonid, we are well connected with the R&D tax world and the marketing sub-sector is no exception.
If you are an R&D tax consultancy looking for your own marketing hire, please do get in touch with Emily Anderson anytime, for an informal chat.