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R&D Tax Credit Eligibility aligned with EI/IDA R&D Grant criteria for Small and Micro Companies


There was welcome news for small and micro companies on Friday last (17th February 2017) with the issuing of eBrief No. 17/17 by the Revenue Commissioners. In the e-brief, Revenue confirm that they will not “as a rule, seek to challenge a claim for the R&D tax credit under the science test” to the extent that the claim relates to projects approved for R&D grants by Enterprise Ireland or the IDA. This is due to the similarities in the definitions of R&D being used. These similarities are not coincidental as the Revenue Commissioners, Enterprise Ireland and the IDA all base their definition of R&D on the OECD’s Frascati Manual.


In addition to the project having been approved for an EI or IDA R&D grant, other conditions must be met, as follows:


  • the total R&D tax credit claimed by the company for an accounting period (of not less than 12 months) is €50,000 or less;
  • the project is undertaken in a prescribed field of science or technology, as defined in regulations (S.I. No. 434 of 2004);
  • the company is a micro or small enterprise within the meaning of the Annex to Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC of 6 May 2003 concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.


The relevant definitions are:


Micro Enterprise: an enterprise which employs fewer than 10 persons and whose annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total does not exceed EUR 2 million.


Small Enterprise: an enterprise which employs fewer than 50 persons and whose annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total does not exceed EUR 10 million.


(If a company is part of a group, it may be necessary to aggregate the headcount, turnover and balance sheet totals of certain group entities in applying these thresholds)


In the e-brief, Revenue confirm that if a claim covers a combination of EI/IDA grant aided and non-grant aided projects, the preferential treatment outlined above only applies to the grant aided projects. They also highlight that they will continue to apply the accounting test to all projects to ensure only qualifying costs are included in the claim.


Full details of the e-brief can be found here

 Knowledge Development Box Guidelines Published

The Revenue Commissioners have now published their Knowledge Development Box Guidelines. See here for more details. 


Finance Bill 2015 – The Knowledge Development Box


Last year,  Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan announced the introduction of a Knowledge Development Box (“KDB”). We were told that under the KDB, a reduced rate of corporation tax would apply to profits from Patents and other qualifying IP assets. Since then we have been awaiting further information, including key details such as the IP assets and income that will qualify under the new scheme.


In the Finance Bill published yesterday, the 22nd October 2015, we finally got to see the proposed KDB legislation. The legislation has not been enacted and is subject to change. However it gives useful insight into how the scheme will operate. As the intention is for the KDB to apply to accounting periods commencing after 1 January 2016, it is important that companies familiarise themselves as soon as possible with the legislation.


Below we set out 10 key features of the KDB contained in the Finance Bill. We also provide links to the Finance Bill and the explanatory memorandum that were published yesterday.


10 Key Features of the KDB


1: The Knowledge Development Box (“KDB”) is to apply to accounting periods commencing after 1 January 2016. Qualifying Income will be effectively taxed at 6.25%.


2. Copyrighted software resulting from R&D is included in the list of qualifying assets to benefit from the reduced effective tax rate. The list also includes certain patents, SPCs and plant breeders’ rights.


3. In addition to the above IP assets, “Small Companies” can also benefit from the reduced effective tax rate on “inventions that are certified by the Controller of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks as being novel, non-obvious and useful”.


4. Along with royalties and licence fees, qualifying income may also include a portion of the sales proceeds of products/services to the extent that they relate to a qualifying IP asset. Insurance, damages or compensation relating to a qualifying IP asset may also qualify.


5. If expenditure is incurred on acquiring IP that is reflected in the value of the qualifying IP asset and/or the R&D is partially carried out by other group companies, the profits qualifying for the reduced rate may reduce in accordance with a prescribed formula.


6. Qualifying income/expenditure must be calculated on an asset by asset basis. However it may be possible to group a “family of assets”. A "family of assets" are two or more qualifying assets that are so interlinked that it is not possible to separately identify income/expenditure for each asset.


7. Claims must be made within 12* months of the end of the accounting period to which the claim relates. *This has since been increased to 24 months


8. For patents, claims can be made either a) in the accounting period in which the application is submitted or b) the accounting period in which the application is granted.  If option a) is used and the patent application is subsequently rejected, the additional tax will need to be paid along with any interest falling due. If a company chooses to use option b), assessments will be amended for all years in which qualifying arose. A protective claim must be filed for each intervening accounting period prior to the application being granted outlining the allowances due.


9. Only companies to which transfer pricing provisions apply are obliged to use transfer pricing legislation in determining the market value of IP, apportioning income for embedded IP etc. SME companies are therefore not subject to these requirements.


10. The legislation will prescribe supporting documentation that must be maintained in relation to every claim.




We are hiring!  Come join our market leading R&D Tax Credit team.

Have you a keen interest in science and being able to explain how technology works? Are you inspired by innovation and cutting-edge technologies? Do you enjoy exploring complex ideas and translating them into simple concepts? If so, this could be the job for you.

SciMet R&D is the leading, Irish owned, independent R&D Tax Credit consultancy. We work with many of Ireland’s most dynamic and innovative companies in securing their R&D Tax Credits. Don’t let the word “tax” put you off, the R&D Tax Credit has science and technology at its core and this is where you come in. As part of our multi-disciplinary team of experienced R&D Tax Credit professionals, you will deliver market leading, bespoke services to our clients. Your duties and responsibilities will include the following: 

  • Working closely with clients to optimise the efficiency and robustness of their claim process;

  • Investigating projects undertaken by clients to assist in the identification of those that meet the definition of R&D activities for tax credit purposes;

  • Assisting with the preparation of an R&D Tax Credit Report, setting out the basis to the claim from a science perspective;

  • Supporting claims in the event of a Revenue audit/enquiry

    This is a client facing role so excellent communication skills are a must. You should be able to demonstrate a proven track record of working to tight deadlines, both as part of a team and using your own initiative.

This is a great opportunity to join a growing team and to establish yourself as an expert in the niche area of R&D Tax Credits. While prior experience of R&D Tax Credits would be an advantage, it is not compulsory as full, extensive training will be provided.


  • Qualified scientist/engineer with a background in one or more of the following: Life Sciences, Biotech, Electronic Engineering, Computer Science, Food Science, Mechanical Engineering.

  • Passionate about science, technology and innovation;

  • Excellent communication, both spoken and written;

  • A team player with the ability to work on own initiative;

  • The ability to work to tight deadlines.

If interested in this role please send a copy of your CV to Eoin Brennan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Revenue Commissioners make further updates to R&D Tax Credit Guidelines

Following their major revision of the R&D Tax Credit Guidelines earlier this year, Revenue published an updated version of the guidelines yesterday, 24th March 2015. Changes have been made to a number of sections to provide further clarity on certain aspects of the new guidance issued in January. At SciMet R&D we welcome the prompt move by Revenue to provide additional clarification on these important points. The changes made are as follows:

Section 2.7 Time Limit on claims and timeframes for payable credits

The version of the guidelines that issued in January included the following statement in relation to payable tax credits:

“Claims for the three instalment payable credits can be paid not earlier than the 21st day of the 9th month following the end of the relevant period and 12 months and 24 months following the date the first instalment was paid” 

SciMet R&D raised concerns with Revenue that this wording could suggest that it is the date the first instalment is actually paid that serves as a reference for determining the 12 and 24 month anniversaries on which the second and third instalments respectively could be received. If this was the case, it could negatively impact the cash flow of companies where the payment of the first instalment is delayed e.g. as may occur where a Revenue audit into the claim is ongoing.

The section of the guidlines has been updated and now states the following:

“Claims for the three instalment payable credits can be paid not earlier than the 21st day of the 9th month following the end of the relevant period, and 12 months and 24 months respectively following that date.

As can be seen, the reference to the date the first instalment was paid has been removed. This section of the guidelines is now consistent with the relevant tax legislation in that it is the date that the first instalment is payable that is the reference for determining payment dates for the second and third instalments.

Section 4.2 Employee/Staff Costs

January’s guidelines included the following statement with regards to determining the qualifying R&D staff costs to be included in the tax credit:

“Emoluments also include holiday entitlement, public holidays etc., therefore for a full time employee, the total cost of the employment is spread over 52 weeks (pro-rata for a part-time employee).”

SciMet R&D highlighted to Revenue that this reference to spreading the total cost over 52 weeks (pro-rated for part-time employees) could be interpreted to mean that staff holidays etc. should always reduce the qualifying R&D staff costs included in the claim. This is because instead of using the proportion that the time an employee is engaged in qualifying R&D activities bears to total worked time when calculating qualifying R&D staff costs, the denominator in calculating the proportion would be the full 52 weeks (including holidays etc.).

In the latest version of the guidelines, the reference to spreading the total cost of employment over 52 weeks (and pro-rata for part time employees) has been removed.

Section 5 Buildings and Structures Used for Research and Development

A significant change has been made to section 5 of the guidelines, which now state that:

Qualifying expenditure on the construction or refurbishment of a qualifying building may be treated as having been incurred either:-

(i) on the date it was actually incurred, or

(ii) on the date the building was first brought into use for the purposes of a trade, or the refurbishment is completed as appropriate.”

This differs from January’s guidelines where it was stated that “the credit is available, commencing from the date on which the building is first brought into use for the purposes of a trade”. This clarification that qualifying expenditure can be treated as having been incurred on the date it is actually incurred is welcomed and may be of particular relevance to R&D companies involved in construction projects that span two or more periods.


About Us

SciMet R&D is the leading, Irish owned, independent R&D Tax Credit consultancy. The company was founded on a simple principle – to consistently deliver exceptional service and value to R&D performing companies in claiming their full and proper R&D Tax Credit entitlement.

We achieve this by delivering the perfect blend of science, technology, tax and accounting expertise. The R&D Tax Credit is unique in that it combines a science test with an accounting test. SciMet R&D is unique in the Irish market in the value we bring to our clients in meeting both tests.

At SciMet R&D we are truly passionate about science and technology. It motivates us to be able to play a part in the exciting research and development being carried out by our clients.  Our tailor-made R&D Tax Credit services deliver efficiencies, robustness and cost effectiveness that facilitate our clients in doing what they do best – innovate.

Our Address: Unit 3, Cova, Trafalgar Road, Greystones, Co. Wicklow