According to newly released data from HMRC, a substantial amount of £1.13 billion in research and development (R&D) tax relief was mistakenly awarded in 2020-21 due to errors and fraud. This figure accounts for 16.7% of all R&D tax relief payments, which is significantly higher than the previous estimate of 3.6% (£336 million) by HMRC. The majority of these errors and fraudulent activities are categorized under ‘non-compliance,’ encompassing mistakes and a lack of reasonable care. Notably, the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) scheme is particularly affected, with an estimated 24.4% of non-compliant cases for 2020-21.

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