A Midlands accountant is spearheading an awareness campaign to help microbreweries access thousands of pounds of untapped cash in a research and development tax credits scheme.

Paul Thompson (pictured), of Wolverhampton-based Accounts Superhero, said: “The government’s R & D tax credits scheme is available to any business investing money in innovation, but there is a misconception that it is only available in scientific applications.

“Breweries don’t realise that the development of new flavours of beer could make them eligible to apply for tax credits with an average claim being around £10,000. In these unprecedented and challenging times, having this money on the way could make a massive difference.

“As an accountant specialising in craft breweries and micropubs, I know there is continual investment being ploughed into the development of new ales. The demand for vegan beer, in particular, has seen this skyrocket over the last couple of years.

“R&D can also be used for breweries who have switched to a new way of selling. This could include investment in a new bottling process to facilitate home deliveries after always selling in cask, something a lot are doing at the moment to maintain an income. These could all meet the criteria that would allow them to claim back cash through R&D tax credits.”

‘It could be that 75% of microbreweries are missing out on potentially life-saving cash at this time’

Development costs in the brewing process can include buying new ingredients and equipment,  time spent in man-hours on research and development, and more. Paul is urging breweries to pursue claims from the past two years. He says these could bring returns of around half their investment costs — that’s potentially thousands of pounds back in the business.

 “Microbreweries are still operational and trying to maximise income from consumer delivery services, but their mainstay business, supplying to the hospitality industry, has been decimated, leaving them struggling to survive,” added Paul.

“We spoke to 12 local microbreweries in the West Midlands, which accounts for a fifth of the 54 we know of in this region. Out of the 12, only three were aware of the R & D tax relief, and only one of these had pursued it through a formal claim.

“If this is indicative of the wider picture, it could mean 75 per cent of microbreweries are missing out on potentially life-saving cash at this time.”

Accounts Superhero is working closely with Helen Gordon, of Woodshires, an expert in the R & D claims process, to help breweries submit successful applications.

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