Tax Credits Built for Architects

UK architects are among the most innovative in the world.

Mark Brindley
by Mark Brindley 06.03.18

UK architects are among the most innovative in the world yet this has not been reflected in the take up of the government’s Research & Development (R&D) Tax credit scheme.  The R&D Tax credit scheme encourages investment in innovation by allowing costs on relevant research & development projects to be claimed back as relief for corporation tax resulting in substantial savings. The amount of savings to be made depends on the size of your architectural practice. Find out how much you could save here.


Many firms who could benefit might be overlooking R&D tax relief because of a commonly held belief that the scheme only applies to pure R&D disciplines such as those wearing white coats in laboratories.  Or they may be put off from applying because the process for making a claim seems overly complex.  In this article we’ll consider ways in which the scheme might apply to UK architects.


R&D is determined to have taken place when a project seeks to achieve an advance in science or technology.  Therefore, when architectural designs can be shown to be innovative and are shown to advance science and technology then there may be an opportunity to consider whether R&D tax credits might apply. For example, when work undertaken towards achieving a design objective consists of improving the aesthetics of a material or product, and does not involve the advancement of science and technology, this would not be considered R&D for tax purposes. However, when achieving the aesthetic improvement requires the resolution of a scientific or technological uncertainty such as developing a new material or building method that was not already known to be feasible then this activity may be eligible.


Here are just a few examples of architectural projects that are likely to fall within the category of science and technology and therefore the potential for claiming R&D Tax credits should be explored:-


  • Development of a bespoke technological design process
  • Development of technical solutions using a combination of products and materials
  • Identification of technological improvements to performance of products and processes
  • Design of product connections and interfaces
  • Development of detailed technical specifications for novel solutions
  • Prototype design and commissioning
  • Development of new computer modelling software to enable desired design objectives.
  • Development of, or improvements to, in house software to resolve challenges, parametric simulations, simulation development, artificial intelligence
  • Development of specialist tools
  • Design iterations to resolve uncertainty in new technological solutions



Often the solutions to resolving technological or scientific uncertainties come about through collaboration within a multi-disciplinary team of architects, building service engineers, specialist contractors etc. but the boundaries between disciplines are becoming increasingly blurred.  If a firm can demonstrate technical authorship and an active involvement beyond design principles into the direct resolution of a scientific or technological uncertainty then may be worth pursuing a R&D Tax relief claim.


Contact us now for advice about eligibility and how to make a claim.

Mark Brindley
About Mark Brindley
CEO & Founder
Mark heads up our team of advisors and brings to the table more than 20 years experience in tax and accountancy.

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