BREXIT – Should we? Does anyone really know?

Are Small Business owners in the UK in a stronger position in or out of the EU?

While voices on both sides of the forthcoming EU Referendum on June 23rd tend to market their cause to us all in fairly bold and strident terms, clearly very determined to convince us that their argument is the winning one, does anyone truly fully understand, whether we stay or go, what the repercussions for the UK’s Small Businesses might be?

Well, without wishing to cause offence to the Danes, to paraphrase one of their more famous marketing slogans: Probably not.

 

 

Seeking Clarity from the Confusion

Key word research for this article pinpointed the dilemma that many undecided voters in the UK might be facing over the referendum.

If you search single words, such as Brexit or look for monthly hits on the names of principle players in the debate, such as David Cameron, Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage, there appears to be a substantial amount of interest. However, those words don’t help us to identify what research or questions people might be asking, they merely identify an interest, (quite possibly, in the latter cases, not related to Brexit) we might reasonably have guessed at.

If you search for results for questions, such as “What is Brexit or “When is the EU referendum” a shockingly low amount of interest is indicated by the figures revealed. Try almost any other combination of relevant words and the results simply get more and more disappointing, almost as if people aren’t that interested at all.

It’s hard to be conclusive, but could it be that, possibly resultant from the blood and guts style battle going on between the two factions, with seemingly very little real concern about what the effect on the people of the UK might be, that the biggest civilian casualty in this war of words is continuing wide scale ignorance?

Do those in power really care about that – probably not.

 

 

A few pointers then…

The suggested short term threat of loss of jobs and loss of financial support for small businesses, following Brexit, is a key area of interest at Cooden Tax Consulting.

We offer advice to small businesses on how they may recoup costs, where expenditure can be shown to have been occasioned on Research and Development Projects and, as per recent articles on Micro-brewing and the effects on the soft drinks industry as a result of Mr Osbornes Sugar Tax, we seek to offer precise and salient advice that is relevant and will matter to entrepreneurs all across the UK.

Fact 1: A lot of the cash that is made available currently through R & D Tax Relief payments for innovation and exploration in industry and business ventures comes from the EU.

If you want to better understand the nature of Research and Development here, how the UK distributes this money and what the measurement of the value of Research and Development is in terms of the UK’s wider economy you could make a good start reading the 350 plus pages of the following document:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/368808/bis-14-1179-united-kingdom-partnership-agreement-part-one.pdf

You would then be a lot better informed, but in presenting that option, understandably: a lot is being asked of the average man in the street, or indeed, of any small business owner, who will probably have more than enough on his plate keeping his business afloat and profitable.

Fact 2: Soundbites, which this article is deliberately not offering, are taken from publications such as that above and referral constantly made to other literature from various think-tanks, some more respected than others, in an effort to convince businesses to vote in or out at the referendum. Does referral to these massively complicated publications really help us? Or do we sigh deeply and prefer , feeling bamboozled and uncertain, to order another round, maybe of Carlsberg, maybe not – to soften the blows.

Fact 3: Cooden Tax Consulting has gained an in depth understanding of the detail because, as bedtime reading, to aid a restful night’s slumber, we have explored the nitty-gritty of such papers. Having done so, we are able to offer guidance to Small Businesses as specialists, with detailed knowledge of Research and Development Tax Relief. We can advise you, having looked at your particular project and identified the correct route for you to pursue an application for relief, whether or not the cash you hope to get back will come from the EU pot and whether, should we leave that institution, it is likely to still be available in the future.

You may, quite legitimately, ask how?

 

In the absence of a Crystal Ball, we have to apply some Common Sense

The one valuable and overwhelming message that shines from the pages of the document at the above link, is that funding research and development properly is a core element in building a strong economy.

It’s also true that the UK has a good reputation globally for undertaking new research and delivering innovative ideas for industry and business.

Consequently, were we to leave the EU and find ourselves a smaller fish in a bigger global pond, there is good reason to believe that the UK Government, of whatever political persuasion, would want to continue to fund R & D Tax Relief to the best of its ability.

That of course sets afloat a raft of questions about where the money would come from and who the potential winners and losers in the new economic landscape might be.

Pro campaigners will very likely tell you that the uncertainty is reason enough to stay in the EU. Voices urging us to leave might argue that our proven skillset in the world of R&D will offer us huge new opportunities to lead the world, free from the shackles of EU legislation and restrictions.

In short, it seems unlikely that R&D Tax Relief programmes would disappear following the vote on June 23rd. However, just as it is becoming impossible to predict the result, in truth, it’s also impossible to say exactly how either outcome will affect R & D for small businesses.

Does that help you decide – probably not? If you want to be better informed you will have to take time to delve in to the detail.

However, Cooden Tax Consulting is here and will remain here, (as Sussex hasn’t yet launched its campaign for independence) to guide you to a better understanding of what you might be able to recoup. In so doing, we’ll help businesses, all across the UK, to continue to prosper.