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DBA announces partnership with R&D tax specialist

The DBA has partnered with ForrestBrown, an award-winning research and development (R&D) tax credit specialist who has been highly recommended by DBA members for their specialised understanding of the design industry.


This valuable tax incentive rewards technological innovation, ForrestBrown can help you determine if your design work qualifies for R&D tax credits and support you in your claim.

What are R&D tax credits?

R&D tax credits are a valuable government tax incentive that reward UK companies for investing in innovation.

– Whatever size or sector, if your company is taking a risk by attempting to ‘resolve scientific or technological uncertainties’ then you may be carrying out qualifying activity.

– R&D tax credit rates are the equivalent of up to 33p for every £1 of qualifying expenditure.

– They can be used as an alternative to innovation grants for research and development funding.

Are you eligible?

R&D is done by real businesses developing new, better ways of doing things. To understand if your design business could be eligible, ask yourself three questions:

  1. Are you a company that is subject to UK corporation tax?
  2. Are you creating new products, processes or services or modifying existing ones? (They don’t need to be physical, digital counts too!)
  3. Are you spending money on this work?

For design businesses, your R&D could be:

  • A tangible product, or part of a product, that has involved overcoming technical challenges. This could be through industrial design (e.g. a new or improved car seat or medical device), structural packaging (e.g. a new or improved bottle closure) or retail display (e.g. a new or improved point of sale structure).
  • A digital product, usually involving bespoke development, that has solved a unique technical challenge for a client.

ForrestBrown has put together a helpful video to answer the question ‘Am I eligible?’.

How does it work?

If a project meets the government’s definition of R&D, you can recoup a percentage of your qualifying costs – up to 33p for every £1 spent.

“The money we have recouped through R&D tax credits, with the help of ForrestBrown, has allowed us to continue investing heavily in the business, and has enabled us to double our revenue, head count and profitability over a three year period.”

Nick Howe, Managing Director, Uniform

You have two years from the end of your accounting period to submit an R&D tax credit claim. If your accounting year-end is 31 March, you should act now so that you don’t miss out on the money you spent on qualifying activities between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 20116.

Start the ball rolling:

ForrestBrown’s strong technical expertise means that they can maximise the value of your R&D claim, while ensuring the claim is robust and uses a rigorous methodology. ForrestBrown has a strong reputation with HMRC and has won numerous awards for their work.

Contact Adam Fennelow at the DBA, who can set up an initial discussion with ForrestBrown to see if you are eligible.

About: DBA membership

DBA membership gives you exclusive access to a wealth of services and programmes that directly impact your team’s and your business’ performance. Join us today and join a community of more than 450 design agencies nation-wide, who already benefit from this unique support. Read more about DBA membership.


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