The Scotsman

Tax relief firm looks to grab slice of market in Scotland

● Edinburgh base to cover market north of the Border


A Manchester-based specialist tax relief firm is muscling in on the Scottish marketplac­e with plans to launch an office in Edinburgh.

Catax said its new satellite office would be used as a base for operations north of the Border as the group embarks on an ambitious growth strategy to treble in size by 2021.

The firm specialise­s in obtaining tax relief for businesses investing in research and developmen­t (R&D). In Scotland, it will go head-tohead with establishe­d indigenous player Jumpstart – also based in Edinburgh.

Catax said it had found that the typical R&D tax relief claim was worth £46,000 and, based on its own research, just under three quarters of small and medium-sized enterprise­s (SMES) in Scotland could be eligible to submit a claim.

Associate director Ian Cruickshan­k will lead the team at the new office, which is going to be based at the Midlothian Innovation Centre adjacent to the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush campus.

Already this year, Catax acquired London-based R&D tax credit consultanc­y Fast Track for £2.5 million and boosted its senior team with the appointmen­t of Paul Johnson as group managing director and Alex Lundy as operations director.

Mark Tighe, chief executive of Catax, said: “We are delighted to have a firm foothold in Scotland and, under Ian’s leadership, I am confident the team will do brilliant things for outstandin­g businesses across the nation.

“Just because the new office is based in Edinburgh doesn’t mean we’re only focusing on the capital. Quite the opposite. There are thousands of innovative businesses, from Aberdeen to Inverness and Glasgow to Dumfries, who could all benefit from R&D tax relief.

“The key to economic growth in Scotland is helping firms realise they qualify and recognise the rewards can be lucrative.”

Cruickshan­k added: “With R&D on the up in Scotland, this really is an exciting time to be expanding Catax’s operations north of the Border.

“So many companies are developing new products, processes and services and don’t realise they qualify for valuableta­xrelief.mymission to deliver millions of pounds back to firms starts today.”

Recent research by the firm found that Edinburgh was the UK’S second most prolific city for business innovation.

Firms in the capital made some 290 claims for R&D tax relief over a period of 12 months, worth about £45m, according to Catax. Debenhams is expanding its foreign exchange services as part of plans to widen its appeal to customers. The department store chain is partnering with Western Union in 112 of its stores to offer global money transfer to shoppers. Western Union already partners with several major retailers – including John Lewis, WH Smith and Sainsbury’s. The news comes as Debenhams pushes ahead with plans to improve its consumer offering amid flagging sales and profits.

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