Wolverhampton Tax Expert helps 250 year old Birmingham firm reclaim R & D tax back from HMRC


A Wolverhampton based tax specialist has helped a Birmingham waste management and recovery company successfully reclaim nearly £55,000 in tax spent on research and development.

Betts Envirometal based in the city’s Jewellery Quarter with facilities in Kidderminster, has reclaimed £54,990 from HMRC under the research and development (R&D) corporation tax reclaim scheme. The business is a division of the Stephen Betts Group. Betts celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2010 having been founded in the Quarter in 1760 by Alexander Betts as “Betts and Sons, Sweep Smelters and Refiners in General”.

Betts Envirometal specialises in recovering precious metals, including silver, gold, palladium and platinum from all types of waste including photographic, ceramic, printed circuit boards (PCBs) and X ray film from laboratories and medical practices. The group has 60 employees, of which 20 work at Betts Envirometal.

One of Betts Envirometal’s biggest clients is the NHS Trust. Betts archive, store and destroy confidential patients’ records and X-ray film at their secure facility in Kidderminster. Following hand-sorting and shredding of the film, the silver content which provides the detail on the X-ray image is removed utilising a chemical process which when processed is recovered via an electro-plating process. The resulting silver waste is then furnace- heated to molten on the premises and cast into 1 kilo ingots for resale to the jewellery trade and associated industries.

Managing director Charles Betts is ninth generation in the Betts family. “Betts Envirometal offers a complete package to handle all hazardous waste and recovery and we cover the whole of the UK,” said Charles. “We will collect, transport, manage, recycle and dispose of waste streams. The NHS is our largest client. Under law, all patients’ records have to be kept for a set period of time depending on individual cases before being destroyed, so we offer secure archive collection, storage and destruction, then recover any precious metals used initially – these are then recycled and sold on to other industries. Our processes don’t involve incineration, and we are fully environmentally compliant.”

Betts also offer a records management storage and retrieval system for businesses that wish to hold documents in a secure location for access at a later date.

Changes in photographic and laboratory processes over the years have meant that Betts have needed to keep pace with change. “We invest heavily in R&D”, says Simon Hundal, general manager. “Central to our investment in R&D is our ISO compliance. We are fully accredited to ISO 14001 environmental and ISO 9001:2000 and ISO27001 standards. The NHS rightly expects the highest standards – we are handling extremely sensitive and confidential data on one secure site and through a continuous process, which starts with the complete destruction of that data. Our competitors can’t offer that, and that’s why we win work.”

“We were delighted by the amount of the reclaim”, said Charles Betts. “Digital processes have presented us with new challenges and we are continuously looking for ways to offer our clients a better solution, while at all times keeping a strong commitment to our environmental ethos. Working with R&D Tax Claims was a painless process and we were pleasantly surprised at how uncomplicated the whole reclaim was. We shall continue to reclaim on R&D in the future.”

Mark Evans, managing director of R&D Tax Claims Ltd has recently celebrated hitting the £10 million mark in HMRC tax reclaims. 

“Betts are still family-owned, have a 250 year old continuous pedigree and have kept at the leading edge of their field because progress and innovation demands change”, said Mark. “The necessity to discover, improve and adapt is just as crucial today as it was at the height of the Industrial Revolution, and Betts is a perfect example of a company that continues to put R&D at the heart of its endeavours.  This commitment deserves to be rewarded, and a cash injection of almost £55,000 direct from HMRC for reinvestment into the business is very encouraging for any business.

“Betts Envirometal’s claim was straightforward and fast, as it’s a very well-run business with clearly documented records”, continues Mark. “We don’t charge an upfront fee and have never failed to win a tax reclaim yet, and it’s such a delight to help a business whose forefathers were one of the founders of a revolution that still defines the industrialised world.”