11 August 2015

Deadline approaching for action on Patent Box – don’t miss out!

Innovative businesses based in the UK are entitled to pay significantly reduced corporation tax. Many business leaders are unaware of how generous the UK Patent Box scheme can be, or they simply assume that they won’t qualify.

With planned changes to the Patent Box scheme due to come into effect from next year, regardless of who wins the General Election, now is the time to check whether your innovation could qualify you for reduced taxation.

Patent Box is not a tax avoidance scheme, it’s a UK Government sponsored programme designed to give financial rewards to the UK’s most innovative businesses and incentivise them to keep on creating more innovation. If you already qualify for R&D tax credits, then there’s a good chance that you could also qualify for Patent Box, since the two programmes are designed to work together.

The current UK Patent Box scheme provides for a generous 10% corporation tax rate on profits derived from UK, EPO and certain other European patents. Profitable businesses already holding patents or with patents applied for should have opted into the scheme, or at least have investigated what their tax savings could be within the scheme.

Businesses who perhaps have not filed for patents in the past should seriously consider their patent and innovation strategy in the near future if they want to qualify.

Since the scheme launched in 2013 we have helped a large number of clients to file strategic patent applications in order to maximise their tax benefits, in addition to protecting their Intellectual Property.

It has recently been announced that the generous regime will be changing from July 2016, although importantly companies that qualify before this date can still benefit until 30 June 2021 from grandfathering of the current rules.

With the start of the new Tax Year, now is a good time to think about whether you can qualify. Innovative groups need to be thinking about:
• Their patent strategy and what patents they could hold
• Where their R&D functions are undertaken
• The impact of the regime on new product launches

Carol Johnson, formerly at HMRC and now a senior manager on the Innovation Reliefs & Incentives team at KPMG, has said “Businesses should be reviewing their position now, to see whether they can benefit from the current regime and grandfathering before the rules
change in 2016.”

If you are uncertain about Patent Box, and whether you might qualify, or even what’s involved in making a claim, Mathys & Squire have a dedicated team to help you plan your Patent Box strategy. We will be happy to provide an initial free of charge consultation to any business which has questions about Patent Box.