31 March 2022

UK unveils R&D tax breaks for AI and quantum computing

Last week saw the release of the UK government’s spring statement which announced new tax breaks for IP owners undertaking research and development (R&D) in the AI, quantum computing, cloud computing, and robotics sectors.

This is facilitated by allowing R&D expenditure on pure mathematics to qualify under the R&D tax relief scheme, with the intention of supporting emerging, technology-driven sectors.

The announcement appears to align with the National AI strategy, released in September 2022, which aims to boost AI capabilities in the UK with the culminating goal to ‘make Britain a global AI superpower’. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the Office for Artificial Intelligence has also projected that more than 1.3 million UK businesses will use AI by 2040, and spending on AI by UK businesses is expected to reach more than £200 billion by the same date, up from £63 billion in 2020.

This is great news for the UK’s many innovative businesses working in the AI, robotics, and quantum tech space. The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, also raised the possibility of further innovation relief for future green energy-related schemes.

The R&D tax break is in addition to the Patent Box scheme, a tax relief initiative introduced in April 2013 which offers companies reduced tax rates on profits from products and services covered by patents, in order to recognise innovation in business.

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