Tax relief firm looks to grab slice of market in Scot­land

● Ed­in­burgh base to cover market north of the Bor­der

The Scotsman - - Business - By SCOTT REID

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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