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  • Foreign Tax Credit Relief
  • Capital Allowances
    • How Capital Allowance Works
  • Annual Investment Allowance
  • Other Corporate tax reliefs
  • Research and Development Tax Relief
    • R&D tax credits
    • Types of R&D relief
  • Patent box
    • Conditions to Qualify
    • Update to the patent box
    • Apply Patent Box
  • Creative Industries Tax Relief
  • Trading Losses
  • Business Rates
  • Conclusion

Corporate – Tax Credits and Allowances

The concept of tax reduction is intriguing. While responsible businesses want to pay their dues, they also don’t want to pay any more than is essential. The UK tax system is complex, but there are several reasonable ways to reduce your corporate tax burden. All you need is a basic awareness of how the UK tax system operates and what tax credits and incentives are available.

Limited companies, international corporations with local branches, and other profit-making unincorporated firms pay corporation tax (CT) on trading profits, investments, and gains from asset sales. The company tax bill is now 19 per cent, but the chancellor announced on 3rd March 2021 that starting in April 2023, the headline rate will be raised to 25 per cent.

For the current tax year, the Corporation Tax rate on company earnings is 19 per cent, which means that an organisation with a profit of £100,000 pays £19,000 in Corporation Tax. However, claiming every allowable cost and relief and providing a more realistic picture of the firm’s earnings is the key to ensuring your company pays no more Corporation Tax than it has to.

Let’s take a look at some of the government tax reliefs and incentives that our specialist accountants have prepared to assist you to decrease your corporation’s tax bill while staying tax effective.

Foreign Tax Credit Relief

If you have previously paid foreign tax on income typically taxed in the UK, you can claim Foreign Tax Credit Relief.

It’s possible that your earnings and gains will be taxed in more than one country. For example, if you live in the UK and earn money from a job overseas, your foreign earnings may be taxed in the UK and the nation from which you earned them. Credit relief reduces the amount of UK corporation tax owed on the same profits if a firm has paid foreign tax on those profits. In situations where the foreign tax on those profits exceeds the UK corporation tax on such gains, the unutilised foreign tax can be carried back one year or carried forward in specific circumstances.

There are three ways in which the UK ensures that no one bears a double burden:

  1. Tax treaties may decrease or eliminate double taxation.
  2. If no treaty exists, a person can seek ‘partial’ relief by deducting foreign tax from their UK tax.
  3. The individual can deduct the foreign tax as an expense from their income (a practice known as relief by deduction). However, this is often inefficient.

When you disclose your foreign income on your Self Assessment tax return, you can claim Foreign Tax Credit Relief. You must register for Self Assessment by 5th October of each year and pay by 31st January of the year following the tax year for which you are paying.

If all of the following apply, however, you do not require to file a tax return:

  • Dividends are your only source of overseas revenue.
  • You have less than the £2,000 dividend allowed in total dividends (including UK dividends).
  • You don’t have any additional sources of income to declare.

The amount of relief you receive is determined by the UK’s ‘double-taxation agreement’ with the country from where your income originates. Even if there is no agreement, you will normally obtain relief unless the foreign tax does not correlate to UK Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax.

Capital Allowances

A corporation can deduct certain expenditures and costs from its profits to reduce the amount of tax it pays. Business entertainment expenses and capital expenditures are not included in these expenses. A company’s capital expenditure is the money it spends on land, buildings, and equipment.

Capital expenditures on certain types of business assets and business premises can be claimed as capital allowances by a company. Capital allowances provide substantial tax relief in the United Kingdom for “capital” investments in facilities and equipment for businesses. Capital expenditure provides an asset or a competitive advantage that lasts for a few years or longer. It is often recognised as a tangible fixed asset on a company’s balance sheet.

The net cost of the company asset or premises is used to determine capital allowances. There are different rates available depending on the type of asset. A company can claim capital allowances on:

  • plant and machinery
  • motor vehicles
  • industrial buildings
  • transmission capacity rights
  • computer software
  • specified intangible assets.

Once the value of the assets has been determined, the difference can be deducted from the profits before tax is calculated. Capital allowances can be claimed for the following items in addition to equipment and machinery:

  • renovating business properties in disadvantaged areas of the UK
  • mineral extraction and dredging
  • research and development (R&D)
  • Patents and “expertise” (intellectual property relating to industrial practices)
  • Buildings and structures (i.e. construction costs)

The two most commonly claimed forms of capital allowances are “plant & machinery allowances” (PMAs) and “structures & buildings allowances” (SBAs).

How Capital Allowance Works

Capital allowances are calculated by multiplying the amount of expenditure that qualifies for capital allowances by the business’s effective tax rate. For example, A firm subject to the 19 per cent corporation tax rate invests £100,000 in assets qualifying for capital allowances. By claiming capital allowances, the corporation may that £100,000 in tax from its profits. This saves £19,000 in corporate tax (£100,000 multiplied by 19%).

So, every £1 spent on equipment qualifying for capital allowances is worth a tax saving of 19p at the 19% corporation tax rate applying until April 2023. Or 25p at the 25% rate coming into force after April 2023. For income taxpayers, the savings are typically higher because the basic rate of income tax is 20%, the higher rate is 40%, and the additional rate is 45% (the marginal rate for a slice of certain taxpayers’ income can be as high as 60% Because the basic tax-free personal allowance is gradually reduced by £1 for every £2 of income exceeding £100,000)

However, the computation is frequently more difficult due to the several types of capital allowances available, each with a distinct amount and rate of tax relief. As a result, the time it takes to receive tax relief might vary.

The expenditure must be spent on a particular type of asset. In most cases, you must own the asset for which you are claiming capital allowances. In other words, if you rented or leased the asset, you won’t be able to claim capital allowances, but you could be able to get tax relief on the rental charges as revenue expenditure.

Assets bought through hire purchase, or financing leases are subject to special rules. Even though legal ownership may not pass until the conclusion of the contract term, these assets are often viewed as belonging to the person who is utilising them. These assets must have been put to use to claim capital allowances. Any interest paid on hire purchase items is considered a revenue (trading) expense rather than capital expenditure. When an established firm has plant and machinery or other assets, capital allowances must be addressed in business planning.

Annual Investment Allowance

Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) is a type of capital allowance. Capital allowances can be claimed for most purchases of plant and machinery and business vehicles. Different types of expenditure qualify for different capital allowances.

Most plants and machinery are eligible for AIA. This implies that before calculating your tax, you can deduct the whole cost of the item from your profits. Each time you start a new accounting period, a new AIA allowance rolls in, and if you spend more than the AIA amount, you can claim writing down allowances on that additional expenditure.

Claiming for automobiles, items you possessed for a different reason before starting to use them in your business, or items donated to you or your firm, must be done by writing down allowances rather than AIA.

In the first year, you can generally claim the whole amount as a capital allowance if your total capital expenditure is less than a specified annual investment allowance (AIA). From 1st January 2019 to 31st December 2021, the AIA will be set at £1 million before returning to its normal level of £200,000. This is limited to a single allowance for groups of companies or associated businesses. From 1st January 2019, the increased yearly investment allowance will be accessible for a three-year period.

Suppose your company purchases equipment that qualifies for the Annual Investment Allowance. In that case, you can deduct 100 per cent of that item’s cost from your profit before calculating how much tax you owe. If your company is VAT registered, you can claim the Annual Investment Allowance based on the entire cost of the asset less any VAT you can recover. If your company isn’t VAT-registered, you can claim the Annual Investment Allowance on the asset’s whole cost.

Other Corporate tax reliefs

Several other corporation tax reliefs can help reduce your corporation tax liability.

Research and Development Tax Relief

Relief for research and development (R&D) is intended to assist companies working on breakthrough science and technology initiatives. To qualify for R&D tax credits, businesses must be working on a specific project.

R&D tax credits

If your company is developing new products, processes or software, it may be eligible for this tax relief. This can equate to additional tax relief of up to £ 24,700 for every £100,000 spent on research. You can opt to claim an R&D tax credit of up to 14.5 per cent if you invest in R&D and your firm makes a loss, in addition to tax relief. In this case, the government provides you with a cash payment.

Loss-making businesses can take advantage of this corporate tax relief to grow their losses, which they can then offset against past or future earnings or claim as a cash tax credit.

Types of R&D relief

Depending on the size of your organisation and whether or not the project has been subcontracted to you, there are numerous forms of R&D relief.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) R&D Relief

To be eligible for R&D tax reliefs, your company must employ less than 500 people and have a turnover of less than €100 million or a balance sheet total of less than €86 million. You’ll need to offer numbers indicating the voting rights of related or partner firms if your company has external investors because you raised venture funding.

Research and development (R&D) expense qualify for corporation tax exemption. To claim for R&D relief, you do not have to develop or create cutting-edge technology. This R&D tax relief allows you to deduct these expenditures from your trading earnings while also claiming up to an extra 130 per cent (a total of 230 per cent) in corporation tax relief.

Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC)

For large corporations, the regulations are slightly different. This takes the place of the large company relief that was previously offered. Large companies can claim a Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) for working on R&D projects. A Research and Development Expenditure Credit can be claimed by large corporations working on R&D projects (or by companies that have been subcontracted to conduct R&D work by a large company). This is essentially a tax credit equal to 13% of a company’s eligible R&D expenditures.

Costs you can claim include:

  • Employee costs. Salaries, wages, Class 1 NICs and pension contributions for staff directly working on your project.
  • Subcontractor costs. 65% of relevant costs for subcontractors used in your project.
  • Software. Software licence fees and a ‘reasonable share’ of software partly used in your project.
  • Consumables. A proportionate amount of materials and utilities were used in your project.

If you match the requirements, you’ll be able to claim lower tax payments on your project from the time it begins until the time you produce or discover the advance or until the project is completed. Relief can be requested for up to two years after the relevant accounting period has ended.

Fill out the increased expenditure section of your complete Company Tax Return form to submit a claim for R&D tax reliefs. GOV.UK also offers an online service that provides information and guidance on how to support your claim, including what information you should provide about your project.

Patent box

HMRC administers this scheme, intended to recognise and reward innovative UK businesses. According to the Patent Box scheme, profits made from any of a company’s patented ideas can be taxed at a reduced rate. Qualifying businesses who successfully elect to the Patent Box can effectively cut their Corporation Tax from the standard rate to the reduced rate. The rate for 2021/22 is ten per cent.

Companies with income related to eligible patents that they either own or have an exclusive license to commercialise pay just 10% corporate tax under the ‘Patent Box’ scheme. Profits can include a significant portion of the trading profit from the sale of a patent-protected product, not just royalties from the patent.

Sales revenue from patents or patent-protected items is the most important category. For all of a product’s income to fall under the regime, it needs one patented component. Patent rights you sell or licence, sales of patented items or products containing a patented innovation, intellectual property infringement money, or damages or compensation related to your patent rights must all contribute to your earnings.

Conditions to Qualify

To be qualified for the Patent Box system, you must first be a UK limited business that pays UK corporate tax. Second, you must have created an original product or procedure and applied for a patent. Finally, income from the patented innovation must have been generated.

To qualify for Patent Box, a company liable to UK corporation tax must profit from exploiting qualifying patented inventions (or certain medicinal or botanic innovation rights). Although there are specific exclusions, such as business procedures and mathematical methods, patents can be sought in practically every technology field. However, if the idea is technical, it stands a possibility of getting patented. The company must possess qualifying patents or have exclusive licences to those patents from the UK Intellectual Property Office, the European Patent Office, or certain European patent offices.

Update to the patent box

The revised patent box scheme went into effect on 1st July 2016 for new applications to the programme and is pretty similar to the original, except that it employs the globally recognised ‘Nexus’ approach to benefit calculations. As a result of this strategy, the advantages of the patent box are reduced by an ‘R&D fraction,’ which is based on the proportion of research and development incurred by the firm (in-house or contracted to third parties) as opposed to that outsourced to related parties (e.g., other businesses in a group). As a result, some organisations may need to rearrange their R&D operations to recoup equivalent advantages as under the previous model. Similarly, the R&D percentage considers the part of research and development represented by any acquired intellectual property (e.g., licenced in). The way R&D expenses are tracked and linked to the IP right or covered product has also changed.

Apply Patent Box

To make a claim, you must first enrol in the Patent Box scheme and have a patent that has been granted. This must be completed within two years after the end of the accounting period in which the relevant profits and income were generated. You can make your choice either in the calculations that accompany your Corporation tax return or separately in writing. You can accumulate patented earnings for patents applied for but not granted while under the Patent Box system. If the patent is granted, these cumulative earnings might be included in the Patent Box claim. This election does not have a particular wording or a box on the Corporation Tax return.

Creative Industries Tax Relief

There are eight different types of Corporation Tax reliefs available to qualified companies in the creative industries, each of which allows them to raise the amount of permissible spending, lowering their overall Corporation Tax bill.

Companies that benefit from films, ‘high-end’ television, children’s television, animation television, video games, theatrical plays, orchestral concerts, museum or gallery exhibitions, and other creative industries can claim tax relief. It is made up of the following eight corporation tax reliefs:

  • Film Tax Relief
  • Animation Tax Relief
  • High-end Television Tax Relief
  • Video Games Tax Relief
  • Children’s Television Tax Relief
  • Theatre Tax Relief
  • Orchestra Tax Relief
  • Museums and Galleries Exhibition Tax Relief

All films, animation, television shows, and video games must be certified as “British.” Alternatively, they must pass a cultural test or meet the requirements of an international co-production pact. The British Film Institute is in the authority of this procedure on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Trading Losses

For computing Corporation Tax, trading losses can be used to seek tax relief. Companies’ trading losses are calculated in the same way as their trading gains. To receive tax relief, the loss is adjusted against other business earnings or profits in the same accounting period.

Capital allowances (which raise the loss) and balancing charges (which lessen the loss) should both be included when calculating a trading loss. Any losses or earnings resulting from the sale or disposal of assets should be excluded. Set-off against other gains might provide relief from the loss. This can be done by filing a claim to offset the loss against the same accounting period’s total profits or, if the loss exceeds those earnings, against the prior twelve months’ total profits.

Alternatively, the loss, or the balance of the loss, might be carried forward to future accounting periods and deducted from future earnings. If the company is part of a group, a loss might be surrendered to another company in the group to be offset against earnings, either in the same period or later.

Business Rates

Businesses that use non-domestic premises must pay business rates equivalent to council tax. These are often seen as a business expense that is tax-deductible. A ratepayer may be eligible for rate relief depending on their specific circumstances (i.e., a reduction in their business rates bill). A variety of reliefs are offered. More info is accessible at, your local authority’s website (which is usually included on your rates statement), or by calling your local authority.

Many businesses might also qualify for business rate relief, which reduces the standard rate. Businesses in England’s retail, hotel and recreation sectors are free from business rates during the tax year 2020-2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.


Tax is a challenging, ever-changing field, and each firm has a unique position for it. As a result, specific allowances or deductions may be available based on the nature of their operation. Therefore, it is usually a prudent option to obtain expert advice from an accountant before applying any company deduction strategies. The government’s recommendations and reliefs for lowering corporation tax in certain areas are complicated and require professional assistance. Businesses that want to decrease their Corporate Tax burden must be diligent in tracking and claiming all of their costs.

Businesses should be constantly adaptable to new tax regimes, as well as the amendments and updates of sectors from government-funded tax reliefs, to ensure that they do not miss out on valuable tax relief opportunities. Our London-based accountants help businesses all over the UK save money on taxes by utilising innovative solutions and industry knowledge. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, and the Bloom Financials staff would be pleased to assist you.