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R&D Tax Breaks for Wellness Businesses

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Wellness has become a buzzword of our times. But what exactly does it mean?

The Global Wellness Institute defines Wellness as “the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health” and values the sector at around $4.5 trillion, according to 2018 data. It’s reach now extends far beyond just beauty salons and fitness centres, with wellbeing infiltrating sectors such as architecture, retail, healthcare, travel, media and technology.

In 2020, Unilever announced their aim to boost annual sales of plant-based products to $1.2 billion by 2027, recognising the growing consumer trend towards plant based alternatives and Nestlé secured a majority stake in healthy recipe box brand Mindful Chef, capitalising on the surge in consumer meal delivery boxes during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019 the mindfulness app ‘Calm’ was allegedly valued at $1 billion, reflecting increasing consumer demand for stress-busting solutions to enhance emotional wellbeing, a trend unfortunately likely to increase into 2021 as we endure the aftermath of the pandemic. In fact mental health costs are predicted to reach $6 trillion by 2030, costing the economy more than diabetes, respiratory disorders, cardiovascular disease or cancer, according to the World Economic Forum. It is not surprising therefore, that multinational companies such as Google, KPMG and GSK offer mindfulness in-house, as mental health costs businesses in Britain billions of pounds per year and 17.9 million working days lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2019/20 (Labour Force Survey).

We have also seen property development and architecture considering wellbeing in its design and construction processes, as it is increasingly acknowledged that our environments influence our health and wellbeing. Post COVID-19, there will likely be an emphasis on designing spaces which are not only COVID secure, but that promote wellbeing through air quality, lighting and natural features, as well as spaces which reinforce healthy behaviours and decision making of its occupants (so called nudge architecture). Sustainable or ‘green’ architecture has also become popular, helping to minimise negative environmental impacts, ultimately improving the wellbeing of the planet and its inhabitants.

Another incentive for Companies looking to improve health and wellbeing through the implementation of innovative solutions is that they may qualify for Research and Development (‘R&D’) tax reliefs. R&D tax reliefs are available to companies who spend time and money on innovations which overcome scientific and/or technological challenges. Menzies have made a number of successful R&D tax relief claims for clients in Health and Wellness space, resulting in reduced corporation tax liabilities or R&D tax credit repayments, for example:

Property and construction

  • Architectural design of “green” and “healthy buildings”
  • Improved lighting, air flow and innovative use of space to improve wellness within workplaces
  • Use of non-traditional materials and methods, enhancing environmental sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint of buildings

Retail and wholesale

  • Natural health products such as muscle/joint oils, herb-based products to aide sleep and vitamins to boost energy and promote vitality and wellbeing

Technology

  • Software and apps designed to improve health and wellness
  • Wearable tech such as activity trackers
  • New medical devices and equipment

Manufacturing

  • Food manufacturers developing healthier options and substitutes, such as various free from options
  • Drink manufacturers incorporating more healthy, natural and sustainable ingredients
  • Furniture which promotes productivity, health and wellbeing, taking into account ergonomics, materials and design

Please get in touch for further information or if you think your business may qualify for Research and Development (‘R&D’) tax reliefs R&D relief.

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