Research and Development tax relief: Advance Assurance

How to apply for Advance Assurance before you claim Research and Development (R&D) relief for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).


Advance Assurance is used to give companies a guarantee that any R&D claims will be accepted if they are:

  • in line with what was discussed and agreed
  • claimed within the first 3 accounting periods

If your company is applying for R&D relief for SMEs for the first time, it could qualify for Advance Assurance.

Your company does not need Advance Assurance before it applies for R&D tax relief.

Who can apply for Advance Assurance

You can apply for Advance Assurance if you are:

  • a SME
  • planning to do R&D or already have done
  • part of a group and none of the companies linked to you have made a claim before

You can’t apply if you are:

  • entered into a Disclosable Tax Avoidance Scheme (DOTAS)
  • a corporate serious defaulter

You can apply for Advance Assurance yourself or your agent can do it for you.

Information you need to apply

To apply for Advance Assurance you’ll need:

  • your company accounts
  • your company registration documents (from Companies House)
  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) correspondence
  • previous company tax returns (not needed for new companies)
  • the name of a contact with a direct knowledge of your R&D to discuss the application with HMRC

You’ll need to give some basic information about your company and detailed information about your company’s R&D activities.

Apply for Advance Assurance

If your company qualifies for Advance Assurance and can apply using the advance assurance form

After you apply

Once we’ve received your application we’ll contact you to talk about your R&D in more detail. This is normally a short phone call but it may involve a longer discussion or a visit to your company if the case is more complex.

We’ll then send you a letter telling you if your application for Advance Assurance was successful or not. If you’re successful the letter will explain your company’s responsibilities and what happens if your R&D activities change.

We may contact you after you’ve submitted your first claim for R&D relief to check it matches the details in your Advance Assurance application.

Published 30 November 2015
Last updated 29 March 2019 + show all updates
  1. The overview on Advance Assurance webinar has been removed.

  2. A new pre-recorded webinar giving an overview on Advance Assurance has been added to this page.

  3. First published.