The agricultural industry claimed back £70m in research and development (R&D) tax credits for the year 2020/21, according to HMRC’s latest R&D tax credit statistics.
A total of 1,275 claims were submitted, representing a modest 1% increase from the previous year, and totalling £70 million.
This is a number that will continue to grow as the 2020-21 claims window remains open for claims until March 2023.
Agriculture, forestry and fishing businesses accounted for just 1% of the total number of UK claims, with the average agriculture R&D claim worth £55,000, compared to £51,000 in 19/20, an increase of 7%.
For small-to-medium sized businesses, the average claim remained around the same at £42,000.
With regards to other sectors in the report, taking top spot with number of claims was the Information and Communications sector, at 22%, closely followed by Manufacturing (21%) and Professional, Scientific and Technical at 19%.
A total of 89,300 claims throughout all industries were made overall up until 31 March 2021, with 78,825 claims from SMEs.
Nigel Holmes, of tax relief specialist Access2Funding, a Ryan company said: “The latest statistics show that the agricultural industry continues to be missing out on government tax relief.
"[This] is sad to see considering the breadth of innovation the industry and its sectors undertakes, from AI in agricultural robotics to low-carbon livestock farming technologies.
“The average claim value and R&D expenditure for agricultural businesses did increase year-on-year, which could be to do with the cost involved in this agri-tech R&D.
"However with more than 14,000 businesses in the UK agriculture, fishing and farming sector and only 1,275 claiming R&D tax credits, there is opportunity for many more to confirm eligibility and utilise innovation-led growth.
“From maximisation of yield by use of smart sensors and IoT (Internet of Things) technology in the creation of new pesticides and fertilisers to engineering projects for management and re-use of waste in food production, continued innovation within this sector will be crucial to tackling climate change, from early-stage R&D to implementation of technology at scale.”
The average claim value across the UK is sitting at approximately £74,000, or £54,000 for SMEs.
There has been a 7% increase in the provisional estimated amount of claims made compared to last year, from 85,900 to 89,300, driven by a 7% rise in the number of R&D claims made by SMEs.