R&D Tax Claims assist Tamworth Fabrications Company in large R&D tax reclaim

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A Wolverhampton based tax specialist has helped a family-run specialist fabrications company successfully reclaim over £30,000 in tax spent on research and development.

Strongs Plastic Products Ltd, based in Tamworth, has reclaimed over £30,000 from HMRC under the research and development (R&D) corporation tax reclaim scheme. The company was founded 34 years ago by managing director Barry Strong, who began by building wooden battery boxes for electric milk floats in his garage in Sutton Coldfield. Strongs now manufacture plastic fabrications for a diverse global market in the transport, aerospace and construction sectors, supplying fabrications for a variety of applications including fire engines, incident support vehicles and lifting platforms.

The company employs 40 people at their 20,000 sq ft factory at Tamworth’s Amington Industrial Estate and has an annual turnover of over £3 million. The company has now taken on a large adjacent site to cope with expansion in 2013.

Barry’s son James Strong, 34, joined the company as a school leaver. “My grandfather worked at Birmingham Co-op dairy for 51 years” said James, now technical sales director. “He and my father started building automated welding machines for plastic battery boxes, as plastic boxes were more efficient than the original wooden ones. We then progressed into more bespoke auxiliary plastic products, including transport packaging, and also battery equipment as a progression from the battery box side of the business.

“We now manufacture a range of plastic products including transport packaging, conveyer systems and complete interiors of incident support vehicles. A large part of our output is in making polymer parts used in vehicle bodies, including fire engines. We employ our specialist welding techniques on high grade polymer fabrications to create bespoke products. Polymers have excellent flame retardant qualities and unlike galvanised steel are lighter, will not corrode or fracture under stress and will not bend on impact. The material is also fully recyclable.

“One of our biggest clients is the fire service. We started making vehicle bodies eight years ago by supplying them with plastic water tanks and now manufacture complete interiors for fire engines.

“Our research and development is constant. We have always introduced new products and approaches and try to continuously improve what we do. We have specific projects for clients that we develop, not just in the automotive sector but also construction and specialist packaging for transportation of parts from one production area to another. We don’t have an aggressive sales policy, but clients bring ideas and projects to us and ask if it can be done. We work around those principles and produce something that works. We also have in-house product development. 

 “We heard of the R&D tax reclaim scheme several years ago through our accountants, but we couldn’t progress it”, said James. “It was frustrating. It seemed like a tremendous amount of work to gather the information to prove the case, and that would have fallen on us, the directors, to carry out. We were more intent on keeping our customers happy and progressing the business than going back and looking at what we had already done to try to prove that we carry out R&D – we know we do!

“R&D Tax Claims gave us a smooth and managed process. They worked with our designers, developers and engineers on site together with ourselves to get information that was factual and relevant. We didn’t have to spend half the time we were led to believe was necessary, even though we could prove we were carrying out R&D.

“We very pleased that the amount of time taken was kept to a minimum. We run as a lean company, and we have an allotted amount of time and budget spent with each project.”

“Thanks to Strongs’ directors keeping excellent records, this was a very quick reclaim”, said Mark Evans, managing director of R&D Tax Claims Ltd. “We had to work fast to submit the reclaim before the company year end and delivered the case to HMRC for the end of April, and had confirmation of a successful claim by mid May.

“Some clients question why we succeed in doing what other accountants say is impossible or too much hard and costly work.  We succeed because we have a team of technical people who understand the manufacturing sector – one of our team is a manufacturing consultant and they can quickly pick up the R&D element of any case to write a report that the Revenue will accept. Our reports are not just a table of figures; we include a full detailed case study as researched evidence.

“This is then ongoing – every year we revisit the company, look at what R&D occurred in that year and put a fresh claim to HMRC. We have a 100 percent success rate and a very happy client base. Manufacturers are consistently showing us the way out of this recession and deserve all the support they can get. I’m delighted that Strongs are now expanding their facility and that 2013 is looking extremely bright for them.”