HMRC’s definition of research is:

"original investigation undertaken in order to gain knowledge and understanding. A supply is one of research whenever the activities are directed towards increasing areas of knowledge or understanding.

It is the intention at the beginning of a project that will determine whether the supply qualifies as research.  On the other hand, research means more than simply confirming existing understandings...and is not...routine testing and analysis of materials".

HMRC also state that the following do not constitute research for VAT purposes:

  • collecting and recording statistics (e.g. surveys) without also collating, analysing or interpreting them
  • consultancy
  • business efficiency advice
  • market research


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 : Finance Division
       University of Oxford
       23-38 Hythe Bridge Street
       Oxford OX1 2JD


  : 01865 (6) 16215


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