Northern Ireland Businesses 'missing out on research tax credits'
Local companies are missing out on tens of thousands of pounds of research and development (R&D) tax credits, according to figures from HMRC.
Research shows that Northern Ireland continues to fall behind nearly every other region in the UK, with companies claiming a total of £45m last year.
But it also shows a positive trend for the region, with an increase of 29% in the total value of tax credits claimed since 2015, compared to the UK average of 19%.
Overall, Northern Ireland accounted for just 3% of total claims and 1.6% of the total tax benefits claimed.
Tom Verner, group managing director of tax specialists the Momentum Group, said: "One of the biggest issues with companies in Northern Ireland claiming their full R&D tax relief is that many believe R&D tax credits are only available for traditional research sectors and 'white coat' industries.
"Interestingly, the statistics show that local SMEs are driving the growth in claims, accounting for 82% of Northern Ireland's total R&D tax credit claims. This is positive for SMEs, which need all the help they can get.
"Momentum partners with every sector in manufacturing, from engineering, food and drink, digital and technology and everything in between, to ensure they claim what they are legitimately entitled to.
"These claims are so important in encouraging companies to innovate, and by not taking advantage of this available tax relief Northern Ireland firms risk stagnating their growth and restricting their competitiveness, which effectively holds back our overall economy.
"Relief can be in the form of cash or a reduction in corporation tax liability."