28TH JULY, 2023

FAQs: Navigating R&D Tax Credits for Irish Companies

In today's ever-changing business landscape, innovation and technological advancement play crucial roles in driving economic growth. Irish businesses understand the significance of these factors, and the Irish government has introduced R&D tax credits as a substantial incentive for companies to engage in research and development activities. These tax credits are designed to motivate companies to embark on research projects that lead to the creation of new products, processes, technologies, or services, thereby bolstering Ireland's economy.

For Irish companies, R&D tax credits serve not only as a means of tax relief but also as a catalyst to accelerate their research and development programs and enhance their financial stability. Nevertheless, the process of claiming these credits can be daunting for many companies. The eligibility criteria may appear intricate, and the application process overwhelming, potentially causing companies to miss out on entitled benefits.

To assist Irish businesses in maximising their R&D tax credit claims, this article provides an exhaustive guide to navigate and optimise their R&D tax credit claim. The aim is to offer businesses a clear understanding of the fundamentals of R&D tax credits, including eligibility criteria, types of activities that qualify, sectors commonly benefiting from these credits, and eligible expenditures.

Furthermore, this article will furnish a step-by-step guide on how to apply for R&D tax credits, common pitfalls to avoid during the claims process, and a dedicated section addressing frequently asked questions about R&D tax credits. By adhering to the guidance outlined in this post, Irish businesses can fully reap the rewards of their R&D activities while preventing simple application errors.

Ultimately, this article aims to serve as an extensive resource for Irish companies seeking to unlock the full potential of their R&D endeavors and harness the significant financial advantages that arise from R&D tax credits.

Understanding R&D Tax Credits

R&D tax credits are financial incentives offered by the Irish government to incentivise companies to engage in research and development activities. These tax credits are designed to motivate businesses to undertake research projects that result in the creation of new products, processes, technologies, or services, thereby contributing to the growth of Ireland's economy.

To qualify for R&D tax credits, companies must participate in R&D activities that delve into resolving technological or scientific uncertainties. These activities must go beyond routine product development or enhancements and demonstrate a significant level of technical challenge. Moreover, eligible R&D activities must align with the company's business objectives and result in demonstrable advancements in their field.

Companies can claim up to 25% of their R&D expenditures against their tax bills, including wages, material costs, and related overheads. Additionally, smaller companies can receive a refund of up to 14.5% of their R&D expenditure if they have not yet begun to generate taxable profits.

Companies can claim R&D tax credits in several sectors, including technology, pharmaceutical, life sciences, construction, engineering, and agriculture. These tax credits accelerate the pace of research and innovation projects, reduce financial burdens arising from R&D programs, and enhance companies' overall competitiveness.

Moreover, R&D tax credits do not just benefit large corporations but are also designed to cater to small-sized and medium-sized companies. These companies often face limited financial resources that prove challenging in investing in research and development activities. However, R&D tax credits provide these companies with an opportunity to access crucial financial support and engage in R&D activities that lead to significant innovations and growth.

Finally, it is essential to note that the R&D tax credits application process is intricate and requires compliance with specific eligibility criteria and documentation requirements. Working with experienced and qualified R&D tax credit experts is critical in maximising the financial benefits of these tax credits and avoiding simple application errors that can lead to costly mistakes.

The Scope of R&D Tax Credits

Q: What types of activities qualify for R&D tax credits in Ireland?

A: To qualify for R&D tax credits in Ireland, activities must involve the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainties and the generation of new or improved products, processes, technologies, or services. This can include developing new software, researching new materials, designing new prototypes, or exploring alternative production methods. The activities must also be systematic, investigative, and designed to achieve scientific or technological advancement. Additionally, the research must be carried out in Ireland or the wider European Economic Area.

Q: Which sectors commonly avail R&D tax credits in Ireland?

A: R&D tax credits are available to companies across a range of sectors, including manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, ICT, biotech, and more. However, the highest concentration of claims tends to come from the software and engineering sectors. Nonetheless, companies from all sectors are encouraged to explore whether their R&D activities qualify for tax credits, as the benefits can be substantial.

Q: What is the scope of R&D expenditure that can be claimed under the scheme?

A: Companies can claim a tax credit for qualifying R&D expenditure dating back four years, including costs such as wages, salaries, employer’s PRSI, pensions, subcontractor payments, materials, and equipment. The tax credit can be as much as 25% of the qualifying expenditure, making it a substantial financial incentive to support the acceleration of R&D activity in Irish companies. It's important to note that companies must provide supporting documentation to justify their claims, so keeping detailed records and seeking expert guidance can be crucial in this process.

The R&D tax credit scheme represents a powerful opportunity for Irish companies to accelerate their innovation and technological advancement, while also unlocking significant tax relief. By understanding the eligibility criteria, types of activities that qualify, sectors commonly benefiting from these credits, and eligible expenditures, companies can maximise their potential benefits. Seeking expert guidance and maintaining thorough records can aid in ensuring successful claiming of entitled benefits. Ultimately, R&D tax credits serve as a significant catalyst to accelerate business growth and attract investment in Ireland's innovation ecosystem.

Q: What financial benefits can Irish businesses expect from R&D tax credits?

A: R&D tax credits are designed to incentivise and reward businesses for their investment in research and development activities. Irish businesses can claim a tax credit worth up to 25% of eligible expenditure on qualifying R&D activities. This tax credit can be claimed against corporation tax or, in the case of loss-making companies, can be refunded as a cash repayment from Revenue. This tax relief can provide a valuable cash injection for businesses, allowing them to reinvest in their R&D operations, hire new staff, and enhance their financial stability.

Q: How can R&D tax credits stimulate innovation and growth for Irish businesses?

A: By offering financial incentives for research and development activities, R&D tax credits can encourage businesses to take risks and pursue innovative ideas. Investing in R&D can lead to the creation of new products, processes, technologies, or services that can set businesses apart from their competitors. Innovation is a key driver of economic growth, and R&D tax credits can fuel the emergence of new businesses and the expansion of existing ones, providing a boost to Ireland's economy

Q: What are some common pitfalls to avoid when claiming R&D tax credits?

A: One common mistake is failing to properly document and track eligible expenditure. Companies must maintain contemporaneous records of R&D activities and associated costs. Another pitfall is not seeking expert guidance to ensure that all eligible activities and expenditures are identified and included in the claim. Overstating the amount of eligible expenditure can also cause delays or penalties. By working with R&D tax credit specialists, Irish businesses can avoid these pitfalls and optimise their claims.

Navigating the complex process of claiming R&D tax credits can be daunting for many Irish businesses, but by understanding the fundamentals of the program, seeking expert guidance, and avoiding common mistakes, companies can secure valuable financial support for their R&D activities and drive innovation and growth in their sectors.

How to Apply for R&D Tax Credits

Navigating R&D tax credits can be a complex process for Irish companies, but with the right guidance and resources, it is possible to make the most of this valuable incentive. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to apply for R&D tax credits, required documentation and records, and tips to maximise your R&D tax credits.

1) Step-by-step guide to apply for R&D tax credits: The first step is to determine if your company is eligible for R&D tax credits. If so, start by researching the activities that qualify and the sectors that commonly benefit from R&D tax credits. Next, gather the required documentation and keep detailed records of your research and development projects. You will need to submit an R&D tax credit claim with your tax return, including the eligible expenditure and R&D tax credit calculation. Ensure the information provided is accurate and comprehensive to prevent delays or rejection of your claim.

2) Required documentation and records: To claim R&D tax credits, you must provide evidence of your research and development activities. This includes project plans, designs, technical reports, trial results, and other documentation that demonstrates the innovation, technical risk, and advancement achieved through your R&D activities. Keep a detailed record of the costs associated with your R&D projects, including direct labour, material, subcontractor, and overhead costs. These records will support your claim and ensure you receive the full value of your R&D tax credit entitlement.

3) Tips to maximise your R&D tax credits: To maximise your R&D tax credits, start by investing in research and development activities that meet the eligibility criteria and qualify for R&D tax credits. Focus on areas where your company can achieve technical innovation and advancement while managing technical risk. Keep accurate records and documentation of your R&D activities and expenditures. Explore opportunities for collaboration with other companies and research institutions as it can broaden your R&D expertise and increase your R&D tax credit entitlement.

Applying for R&D tax credits can be a significant financial benefit for Irish companies, but it requires careful planning, record-keeping, and adherence to the eligibility criteria. By following the steps outlined in this guide and staying informed of any changes to the R&D tax credit scheme, Irish companies can maximise their R&D investment and enhance their financial stability.

Seeking Professional Advice

Navigating R&D tax credits can be a complex and highly technical process, and some companies may require professional advice to help them understand the intricacies of the scheme fully. Here are some scenarios when seeking professional advice would be useful:

1) When it is the first time claiming R&D tax credits - Many businesses find the process of making an R&D tax credit claim challenging, particularly if it is their first time doing so. In such cases, it may be worthwhile seeking professional guidance to ensure that all eligible costs have been included, and the calculations are accurate.

2) If there is a history of errors in previous claims - Errors and inaccuracies in previous R&D tax claims can have severe consequences, including financial penalties. Therefore, it is advisable to engage the services of a professional adviser who can provide expert guidance and ensure that compliance standards are met.

3) When there are complex or specialist technical issues - Some R&D projects may be technically complex or specialist, requiring a deeper understanding of specific scientific or technological fields. In such cases, professional guidance from a technical expert can be invaluable.

When selecting a tax consultant or adviser to help with your R&D tax credit claim, it is essential to choose a reputable and credible provider with a clear track record of success in the field. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

- Look for a firm with extensive experience in R&D tax credits, and a proven track record of securing successful claims for clients.
- Check the credentials and qualifications of the adviser - ensure that they have relevant expertise and are qualified in the appropriate areas.
- Consider the cost of the service and make sure that it represents value for money.
- Get references and testimonials from previous clients to get a clear understanding of their experience of working with the firm.

The benefits of getting professional help with your R&D tax credit claim are numerous, including:

- Access to expert guidance and advice throughout the process
- Increased chances of securing a successful and accurate claim
- Greater peace of mind that the claim meets all compliance standards and requirements
- Potential cost savings by reducing the risk of errors or inaccuracies in the claim
- More time to focus on core business activities while the advisers handle the technical paperwork and calculations.

In summary, engaging professional advisers can provide companies with the guidance, expertise, and peace of mind needed to navigate the complex R&D tax credit scheme successfully. By selecting a reputable and experienced provider, businesses can benefit from a streamlined and accurate claims process, while ensuring compliance with all relevant regulations and requirements.


In conclusion, R&D tax credits are a significant incentive for Irish businesses to engage in research and development activities, leading to the creation of new products, processes, technologies, or services. They not only provide tax relief but also serve as a catalyst to accelerate innovation and enhance financial stability.

Navigating the R&D tax credit claim process may appear daunting, but with the right guidance, Irish businesses can unlock the full potential of their R&D endeavors and harness significant financial advantages. We hope that this article has provided an exhaustive guide to help businesses navigate and optimise their R&D tax credit claim successfully.

We encourage Irish companies to explore and apply for R&D tax credits to maximise their research activities' potential. It is important to remember that eligibility criteria may appear intricate, and the application process overwhelming, but with the right guidance, businesses can avoid common pitfalls and fully reap the rewards of their R&D activities.

In summary, R&D tax credits are a vital component for driving economic growth, and Irish businesses must take advantage of them to enhance their innovation capabilities and financial stability. Don't miss out on the entitled benefits - explore R&D tax credits today!

Contact us to discuss any aspect of R&D tax incentives for your innovative company

There are a number of state-backed financial schemes designed to assist companies with the cost of innovation, notably R&D Tax Credits and R&D Grants. However, putting together an application for either relief can be a tough process and there are many pitfalls, which is why you should use a highly skilled R&D tax relief firm such as ourselves.

Myriad Associates (developers of the Tax Cloud portal) is on hand to help with every aspect of putting your R&D tax relief claim together. From our initial meeting to crafting the perfect narrative report, right through to completion our team of R&D tax relief specialists and accountants are proud of their 100% success rate in getting Irish businesses the reliefs they deserve.

Why not try out our Tax Cloud portal for businesses and see what you could be owed, or call our Dublin-based team on +353 1 566 2001. Alternatively, please use our contact page and we'll be pleased to get back to you.

Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA
Author Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA CEO, Tax Cloud
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Meet some of the team behind Tax Cloud

Barrie Dowsett Barrie Dowsett ACMA CGMA Chief Executive Officer
Jillian Chambers Jillian Chambers Technical Analyst/Writer
Lauren Olson Lauren Olson Technical Analyst Manager
Rabia Mohammad Rabia Mohammad Corporate Tax Associate