‘R&D don’t apply to me’: Digital agencies


A common misconception with agencies is that they believe because the research and development (R&D) work is for their clients, it is them who should be claiming the incentive. However, if the agency is bearing some of the risk by carrying out the work, it is likely that they will be eligible for R&D Tax Credits. With regards to web and software development, the creation of new features and functions is not all that qualifies as an advancement in technology but, also, the underlying processes of features and functions.  Here are just a few examples of digital agencies who have benefited from the incentive:


  1. Rufus Leonard

Based in London, Rufus Leonard are an independent brand experience agency that partners with ambitious organisations to solve complex problems. They believe they transform brand experience by combining innovative design thinking with technology and, in turn, create business value. Rufus Leonard have worked with many well-known firms from Pizza Express to the AA, even creating a new online experience for Stagecoach customers. Their app allowed for users of the service to access timetables, purchase mobile tickets, gain real-time information on any delays or other news as well as many more options. Although other companies has created digital media with similar features, Rufus Leonard had to integrate all the components with 50 different Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and this required bespoke solutions. This project increased revenue by 30% and qualified them for R&D Tax Credits meaning success was achieved all round. Rufus Leonard had no idea the benefit R&D Tax Credits could provide them or what they even were but with the funds they have provided they have been able to refurbish their premises which would have otherwise been a struggle.

  1. Sleeping Giant Media Ltd


As a specialist search and social marketing agency, Sleeping Giant Media Ltd (SGM) dedicate time to keeping ahead with technology in order to provide clients with the most modern and comprehensive strategies. To achieve this, they invest in research and development and allow developers to have ‘innovation time.’ Due to this commitment, they have had 3 projects of internal process improvement qualifying them for R&D Tax Credits. One of the bespoke systems they created was for timesheet and work data capture as they felt systems adopted by other firms were just not sufficient. They also created, from scratch, a knowledge management system that contained integrated training, development and content planning systems in order to keep their expanding team inducted and up-to-date with current and future technology. A final project qualifying them for this government incentive was a tool that allowed them to analyse clients’ websites from different approaches rather than just an objective scale and convert this data into user-friendly information. This process involved the integration of 10 analytics suites and 2 custom programmes to create one application interface. SGM gained nearly £30,000 and have stated that R&D Tax Credits are something they’ll be looking to claim again.

  1. RBH

RBH believed their work might be nothing out of the ordinary for a creative, digital agency. However, when HMRC tested their projects to discover if they had overcome ‘technical or scientific uncertainty’ to create an advancement in the field, it was concluded that they had and resulted in them receiving R&D Tax Credits. The development of an iPhone app for a shopping centre client, a marketing gateway for a car manufacturer and an e-commerce platform that combined a Content Management System (CMS) with legacy stock systems for a fashion retailer, were the projects that qualified them. These projects did not only provide their clients with a competitive advantage, but their company too.


  1. MMT Digital

Developing innovative digital products for global firms like Bacardi, comparethemarket.com and Vodafone is common practice for this digital agency. From rebranding firms through the design of new websites to creating bespoke, complex software, MMT Digital’s work is exactly the kind of projects that qualify for R&D Tax Credits. For example, they developed a digital proof-reading platform to aid publishers and make their work more efficient. Digital solutions like gesture recognition and project management assistance were produced to build upon paper-based methods and automate tasks. R&D Tax Credits have allowed them to continue their cutting-edge work and invest internally in talented staff who enjoy their innovative work.

If you believe your business carries out similar work and could be eligible for R&D Tax Credits then contact us at 01292 388031 or e-mail at info@amas.biz.