Northern Ireland firms still missing out on tax credits for R&D projects
Northern Ireland companies claimed £75m from the government's research and development tax credit scheme from 2017/18, according to a report.
Figures from HMRC showed that out of 1,440 claims, the average claim from Northern Ireland firms was around £57,000 - up from £46,000 a year earlier.
But tax credits specialists the Momentum Group said small to medium-sized companies here were losing out in comparison to their bigger counterparts in the rest of the UK.
It said that Northern Ireland accounted for just 2.7% of the total number of claims on a national level and just 1.7% of the total monetary benefit claimed.
The average amount claimed by companies in Northern Ireland was £57,250, with the average for small to medium-sized companies £41,000.
For SMEs, there was an 11% increase in the number of claims and a 13% increase in the value of claims.
Tom Verner, managing director of the Momentum Group, said: "Northern Ireland firms are finally waking up to the R&D tax relief schemes. However, many SMEs are still continuing to hit the snooze button whilst larger companies are taking full advantage of the scheme.
Please log in or register with belfasttelegraph.co.uk for free access to this article.
"For the first time on a national scale, Northern Ireland's large companies are the big winners here."
Stephen Kelly, chief executive of Manufacturing NI, said: "While it is encouraging to see an increase in the number of claims made by Northern Ireland companies, it is still surprising to see how much firms are missing out on.
"Every day we see incredible examples of innovation across the manufacturing industry in Northern Ireland. This is heavily underpinned by R&D, be it through investing in people and skills, new equipment, improved products or processes.
"Given the amount of challenges being presented by Brexit, incentives such as these could prove particularly useful for firms across Northern Ireland."
Chris Maylin, managing partner at tax advisors Amplifi Solutions, said: "More and more companies in Northern Ireland are availing of R&D tax credits, which is fantastic news, but there are still so many who aren't claiming what they should.
"If your company is undertaking any form of research or development, we strongly recommend that you investigate whether this government incentive is available to you."