1ST JUNE, 2023

Unlocking the Power of R&D Tax Credits for Your Software Business

As the software industry continues to expand in Ireland, Research and Development (R&D) is becoming increasingly vital.

For software companies, investing in R&D can be both expensive and time-consuming, with no guarantee of immediate returns. However, many do not realise that they can significantly offset these costs through R&D tax credits.

R&D tax credits have been around for years but are still underutilised by software companies in Ireland. The government provides companies with tax relief or credits for their R&D activities in the form of a cash refund or a reduction in their corporation tax liability. However, despite the potential benefits, many companies are yet to tap into this vital resource.

That's why we've created this comprehensive guide to unlocking the power of R&D tax credits for software companies. We'll explain everything you need to know, from the basics of what R&D tax credits are, to how your software business can benefit, and the practicalities of claiming them. By the end of this blog, you'll have a better understanding of R&D tax credits and know exactly how to take advantage of them.

We believe that R&D tax credits are an essential tool for software companies to promote innovation and remain competitive in a rapidly evolving industry. They allow companies to invest in new products, processes and innovative ideas, while also providing crucial financial support. With the right guidance, companies can take full advantage of R&D tax credits and invest in their future success.

So, if you want to learn how your software business can access these benefits and ensure that your R&D activities have the financial support they need, then read on. This guide will provide you with all of the information you need to unlock the power of R&D tax credits for your software business.

Understanding R&D Tax Credits

For software companies in Ireland, Research and Development (R&D) tax credits provide an excellent opportunity to receive financial rewards for their innovative work. R&D is defined as a systematic, investigative process that aims to resolve technical uncertainties through the creation of new knowledge.

In the software industry, R&D activities can involve developing new algorithms, testing new programming languages, or exploring innovative ways of solving problems. Importantly, these activities must be genuinely innovative and must entail an element of risk or uncertainty to qualify for R&D tax credits.

In Ireland, the R&D tax credit is one of the most generous in the world, with qualifying companies receiving a tax credit of 25% on qualifying expenditure. This expenditure can include staff costs, subcontractor expenses, and consumables directly related to the R&D activities. To be eligible for the tax credit, a company must be tax-resident in Ireland and must have carried out qualifying R&D in the fiscal year for which the credit is being claimed.

The R&D tax credit scheme is regulated by the Irish Revenue Commissioners, who require companies to adhere to strict guidelines when claiming the credit. These guidelines are in place to ensure that only genuine R&D activities and expenses are claimed, and that the tax credit scheme is not exploited for any other purpose. To claim R&D tax credits, companies must keep accurate records of their R&D expenditure and must provide evidence of their innovative activity.

R&D tax credits offer software companies in Ireland a significant financial incentive to invest in innovation. With the right knowledge and guidance, software companies in Ireland can leverage R&D tax credits to drive innovation and growth, while simultaneously boosting their bottom line.

The Value of R&D Tax Credits to Software Companies

R&D tax credits are a valuable financial incentive that can support the growth and development of software companies. The potential benefits of R&D tax credits to a company's financial health cannot be overstated.

These tax credits can be a fundamental component of a company's funding strategy, providing the capital needed to invest in research and development, produce new products or services, and improve existing ones. By availing of R&D tax credits, software companies can reduce the effective cost of their R&D and increase the return on investment. This can enable them to reinvest the money saved into further innovation, creating a cycle of continuous improvement.

The success of these companies underlines the value of R&D tax credits in promoting innovation, improving financial health, and driving long-term growth of the software sector in Ireland.

Common Misconceptions about R&D Tax Credits

Many software companies avoid applying for R&D tax credits as they think only bigger companies are eligible for them. However, R&D tax credits are available for any company, regardless of size. In fact, they provide an excellent opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to invest in research and development without having to deal with a hefty financial burden.

Another common misconception is that a company's work does not qualify for R&D credits. However, R&D credits are available for a wide range of activities, including new system design, software development, and improving existing products. Moreover, any activity that aims to enhance knowledge in the software sector can be a qualifying activity.

It is important for software companies to recognise that research and development is an evolving process that requires continuous investigation and experimentation. This means that many of the activities they carry out are often considered R&D. It is imperative that companies understand that to qualify for R&D credits, the research and development work being conducted must exhibit some level of risk, uncertainty, and innovation.

In summary, any company involved in software development should consider applying for R&D tax credits, regardless of its size. R&D tax credits can be a valuable resource that will facilitate innovation and development while also reducing the financial burden of such work. It is essential to consult with an expert in this field to avoid missing out on the benefits of R&D tax credits.

How to Identify R&D Activities within Your Software Company

Identifying R&D activities can be challenging in the fast-paced and innovative software development industry. However, spotting these activities is a crucial first step in availing of R&D tax credits.

To identify potential R&D activities within your software company, start by asking yourself the following questions.

1) Does your team conduct any problem-solving exercises?

2) Do they experiment with new technologies or programming languages?

3) Have they encountered any unexpected challenges during product development?

These are all signs of potential R&D activities.

Some software-specific R&D activities that often go unnoticed include developing new or improved features, debugging intricate code, designing algorithms, using artificial intelligence, machine learning, or blockchain technology, to name a few. These activities all involve the systematic investigation of scientific or technological principles, making them R&D activities.

A key consideration in identifying R&D activities in your software company is recognising that R&D is not confined to brand-new projects or inventions. Substantial efforts to enhance existing software products or processes by overcoming some technological challenges can be considered R&D. For example, developing a function that increases the efficiency or security of a software system, using new technologies or approaches, can be deemed R&D activities.

Overall, identifying R&D activities in the software industry requires a combination of technical expertise and a keen eye for innovation. By recognising these activities, software companies can unlock the potential for significant financial benefits while pursuing exciting and innovative pursuits.

Steps to Claiming R&D Tax Credits

Now that we have established what R&D tax credits are and how they can benefit software companies in Ireland, it is essential to explore the process of claiming these credits. Before filing a claim, it is crucial to ensure that the R&D activity carried out by the software company qualifies for the tax credit. Once confirmed, a step-by-step process can be followed to claim these credits.

The first step is to gather and review all relevant documentation to determine the total R&D expenditure incurred during the tax year. This documentation includes employee timesheets, project plans, invoices, and receipts. It is essential to have accurate and detailed documentation as this will make the claim process smoother.

The second step is to calculate the amount of R&D expenditure that qualifies for the tax credit. This involves identifying the eligible R&D expenditure, such as salaries, materials, and equipment, and applying the formula used by Revenue to calculate the tax credit.

The third step is to complete and submit the R&D tax credit claim form to Revenue Commissioners with the necessary documentation. It is essential to ensure that the claim is accurate and properly supported by documentation.

Once the claim is submitted, there may be some follow-up queries from Revenue Commissioners. It is essential to respond to these queries promptly and accurately and to maintain accurate records of any interactions with Revenue Commissioners.

In summary, claiming R&D tax credits can be a complex and time-consuming process, but with proper documentation and understanding of the qualifying criteria and the process for claiming, it is possible to take advantage of this valuable tax credit.

With our experienced and knowledgeable team of R&D tax credit consultants, we can help software companies navigate this process efficiently and effectively to maximise the benefits of the R&D tax credit program.

How Tax Cloud Can Help

Tax Cloud is an innovative, simple and cost-effective R&D tax claim portal. Developed by the R&D tax specialists at Myriad Associates, it’s split into two sections: one for businesses and one for accountants.

Fully guided and compliant with all the latest Revenue regulations, it’s a step-by-step way of submitting a fully maximised claim. Simply sign up (it’s free) and go through each stage. Once each one is complete our team will check to make sure everything’s in order and offer feedback where necessary, so you nothing will slip through the net.

The Tax Cloud team has over 10 years’ experience working solely in the field of R&D tax relief and funding so there isn’t much we’ve not seen before. We’re also really proud of our 100% success rate as market leaders in the field.


"Tax Cloud is an excellent service. It guides you through the process of applying for an R&D tax credit with expert advice and support and is far cheaper than any other R&D advisory service I've come across."

John Regan, CEO, Human Technology Ltd

"I have nothing but good things to say about Tax Cloud. My R&D claim went through issue free thanks to the help and support of the team. Would highly recommend"

Ryan Thorley, Director, Interrog8 Ltd

"Tax Cloud makes the process of completing an R&D tax credit claim very straightforward and quick. It’s also a very cost effective route and you still get all the advice and guidance you need. We prepared our last claim from start to finish in about 2 weeks!"

Rob Lancashire, Co-Founder, Essencient Ltd

"Tax Cloud has made R&D tax relief truly accessible to small businesses who are in the process of innovating - and meets a genuine need for help to simplify and clarify this. The process was straight forward and the Tax Cloud team were brilliant, bringing in all their experience and knowledge and being on hand to respond very quickly to all my questions.  They made the whole process easy and efficient and were a real pleasure to work with."

Martha Jordan, Director & Founder, Raise Design Ltd


In conclusion, R&D tax credits can be a powerful tool for software companies looking to invest in innovation while benefiting from financial incentives. As Ireland's technology sector continues to evolve and thrive, companies need to recognise the value of these credits and leverage them to drive growth and competitiveness.

Through our comprehensive guide, we hope to have demystified R&D tax credits and provided software companies with actionable advice on how to claim them. We encourage companies to take advantage of our expertise and reach out for assistance in identifying qualifying R&D activities, preparing and submitting claims, and addressing any questions or concerns.

It's important to note that R&D tax credits aren't just about immediate financial benefits. By investing in innovation and R&D, software companies can position themselves as leaders in their field, attract funding, and contribute to Ireland's overall economic growth.

We're proud to be positioned as an industry-leading R&D tax credit portal that can help software companies unlock the full potential of these powerful incentives. Our team of experts can provide bespoke advice, tailored to your company's specific needs.

So if you're a software company in Ireland looking to drive innovation and benefit from R&D tax credits, don't hesitate to reach out to us. With our support, you can unlock the power of R&D tax credits and take your business to the next level.

Contact us to discuss any aspect of R&D tax relief for your software company

There are a number of state-backed financial schemes designed to assist software 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
Start your Tax Cloud claim now Discover if you qualify and ensure your R&D tax claim is maximised. Get started
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Myriad Associates are the creators of Tax Cloud, we help enterprises navigate, apply and secure tax incentives and grants. We specialise in R&D Tax Credits, Enterprise Ireland grants, Horizons Europe grants, and the Digital Games Tax Credit

  • Submitting R&D tax claims since 2017
  • Strong track record delivering R&D tax credit claims
  • Over €10m claimed and counting
  • Industry leading specialists
  • We employ technical, costing and tax experts
  • Confident of delivering value to our clients, we offer our R&D tax services on a success fee-only basis.

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