Visualplanet Ltd

Industry – Electronics Number of years claimed – 4 Type of claim – Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credits – SME Scheme.

Research and Development Tax Credits case study for VisualPlanet

Applying the Fiscale “forensic” touch, reaps additional rewards for a company who are revolutionising the way we live and work, through the use of interactive touch screens. By taking the time to understand how a business really works and getting into its DNA, our team can often uncover untapped areas of research and development. This is exactly what happened with Visualplanet Ltd. They knew they were carrying out R&D and that they could make a claim, but were not aware just how much of their work was covered by the R&D Tax Credit scheme.
Research and development happens daily at Visualplanet. From the very outset, they developed a new product, along with the processes that were needed to manufacture it. Today the innovation comes from the development of their core product, along with the design solutions for their clients. This is because the R&D is driven by their clients need, and in finding the solutions for these. The improvements that they are making to their core product, Touchfoil™, is eligible for R&D Tax Credits.
Often Visualplanet are designing and developing new applications. This development inevitably involves technological uncertainty. At the time of meeting with Fiscale, Visualplanet had already prepared the information for their R&D Tax Credit claim. However, before submitting to HMRC, wanted Fiscale to review it. Given the projects that the company were involved with, Fiscale were convinced that their claim could be a lot bigger. The challenge was to prove it… and we did!

The Challenge

The first commercial use of Touchfoil™ was in the “through window” retail market. This was an interactive property display in a Cambridge estate agency. Since 2002 the number of companies utilising the film has grown, as more sectors discover the benefits of engaging interactively with their audience. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) commission Visualplanet to develop bespoke solutions for their applications. The design team develop Touchfoil™ to work in a diverse range of environments. These include Internal and external locations, harsh weather conditions, heavy footfall areas, which all have unique challenges that need to be addressed. The ability to design a solution that can be used in an existing application and can be retrofitted if necessary, can all offer challenges for the design team to overcome. Perhaps the biggest challenge that Visualplanet has to tackle is user experience. The rise in popularity of small touch screen devices, means that many consumers are familiar with how they work. When they use a large format touch screen they are looking for the same experience.

The Results

During the meeting, Fiscale reviewed the R&D Tax Credits claim that their internal finance team had put together. The claim was comprehensive and included the largest project. However, given the extensive nature of the research and development taking place at Visualplanet, we believed that there was scope to increase the claim. On further investigation our instinct proved to be correct. We took the time to gain a deeper understanding of the manufacturing process. This included looking at the way Visualplanet work with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), to design bespoke solutions. By adopting a forensic approach to the work that Visualplanet carry out. As a result, we were able to identify a substantial number of additional projects that they were eligible for R&D Tax Credits. We worked to ensure that no stone was left unturned, and that any eligible projects from the last two years were included in the claim. This involved several face to face meetings and telephone calls. Once we were satisfied that all the opportunities had been maximised, we prepared and submitted the report.
It was quite by chance that we came across Fiscale, and I am glad that we took the opportunity to make contact with them. Our product is very innovative and we knew that what we qualified for R&D Tax Relief. What we didn’t really appreciate was the extent of R&D that we actually carried out. I would urge any business to take the opportunities presented through the R&D Tax Credit scheme and to use the services of a specialist R&D Tax advisor like Fiscale. They will be able to help you to claim back more than you think. In our case we had already gone through the process of putting the claim together, so once Fiscale were on board my involvement was pretty limited. Stephen and his team just got on with it and ensured that we were fully utilising the opportunities presented by the R&D Tax Credit scheme. We enjoyed working with Fiscale. Stephen really does know his subject and is meticulous in his investigations. We are looking forward to continuing our relationship with Fiscale. By taking full advantage of this incentive we are able to fund even more research into new applications for our product
Richard Heyes, Financial Director, Visualplanet


Visualplanet received their cheque from HMRC within six months of their introduction to Fiscale.

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