Understanding that companies are potentially losing out on thousands, if not millions, of pounds in tax relief – and building a team that has the knowledge and expertise to change that – has set CBTax up to achieve its aim of becoming the leading R&D tax consultancy firm in the UK.
It’s a common misconception that R&D tax relief is something that applies to scientists in lab coats or organisations that come up with new and innovative products, but the truth is that many more companies would qualify if only they had the right advice and guidance.
CBTax was founded in 2018 by twin brothers Chris and Stephen Beale, who looked to build a better offering than the industry was providing. R&D tax consultancy had become Chris’ specialism and the brothers’ aim was to implement all the best practice into their own firm as they had seen what works and what does not in the industry. Within six months they had taken on their first employee and by 2021 had grown to a team of 25, including sector specialists in engineering, construction and software, with further talented individuals due to start early this year, and the aim of having a headcount of 45 by the end of 2022.
Growth has been mainly through reputation, with clients who have seen the benefits of making a tax relief claim keen to recommend CBTax to their associates.
“R&D tax relief can be applicable to all sectors and isn’t just for companies creating new products. To be eligible for the relief we need to identify a project that faces uncertainty, and the aim of the project will be to make an advancement. This advancement could be in the form of a new product, process, or service; but it could also be to make an appreciable improvement on an existing product, process, or service; or even to create the same solution but in a fundamentally different manner. A lot of businesses will be trying to push boundaries, make better solutions or look to be more efficient, which could attract relief; so it’s worth looking into whether what you’re doing will qualify.
“Many people ask why their accountant has not suggested this and this is usually down to a lack of understanding. Although your accountant might be great in completing your compliance obligations; niche areas of tax advice should be left to a specialist. One of my first clients, a construction firm based in London, have claimed back some £2.2m so far, which is a vast amount of money and, unfortunately, something they had been missing out on for years. Businesses simply don’t always realise their potential for making a claim that is literally returned to them in cash.”
CBTax is now a Top 100 accountancy and tax practice and the fastest growing in the UK. Figures suggest it is already the second largest R&D tax consultancy firm, so the brothers’ ambition to lead the way looks set to be a reality.
Although amazed at how quickly the firm has grown, Chris puts the early success down to building the right team and the right approach. CBTax is not a traditional chartered tax practice but is in a position to offer additional tax and accountancy services to clients already taking advantage of their specialist R&D tax services.
With a new cohort of employees due to come on board very soon, there has been a round of promotions within the team, recognising the achievements of the past couple of years and preparing the firm for another phase of growth.
“The success we’ve had, which has been quicker than we dared hope for, shows that we’ve got a fantastic and talented bunch of people. We have 100% staff retention rate, and the level of service from every one of them is what makes us stand out. We have built the business pretty much on reputation alone,” said Chris.
“For that reason, a number of the team have recently been promoted because we wanted to highlight that talent. These promotions are throughout the business, from new director appointments to promotions of our associates, all of whom are supported through their tax qualifications.
“We have created an Associate Director and a number of Senior Managers. Firstly, because we want to recognise their contribution and show them they are valued, but also, as new people are joining us, we want them to have senior people who can pass on the ethos of the firm and lead from experience.”
During the past year, CBTax has moved to a new location that offers ease of access and excellent road links, beautiful views and a smart, contemporary workspace. The idea was to give employees, who have experienced the upheaval of the past two years or so, a good feeling about coming to the office after periods working remotely.
“We appreciate what our team has done and want to make sure they are happy and want to come to work,” said Chris.
“Our clients value what we do for them. I think what makes us stand out is that we’re not only skilled at what we do, we have a team with knowledge across a wide range of sectors. When we’re talking to clients in construction, engineering, food and beverage, for example, it is enormously helpful if they are speaking to someone who knows something about their sector and is not just someone who has tax relief experience. They need someone who talks the same language to help them see the potential for a claim and create a robust report to support the claim being made.
“In addition to that, once we’ve focused on their R&D activities, we have the ability to work on other areas of tax planning to ensure they are tax efficient moving forward.”
Find out more about CBTax at www.cbtax.co.uk or call the team on 0333 455 9010