Derek Gemmell

M. 07973125239




Companies involved in Innovation across all sectors of industry to access tax relief the UK Government intend them to take advantage of.



With our Team of Innovation Tax experts, I optimise  tax relief for clients.   I ensure we understand the intentions of tax legislation and the practices of the tax authorities in order to ensure robust claims are made which optimise the intended tax relief.

Relief is accessed through both R&D tax relief and patent box claims.



We deliver advice to companies operating across all business sectors where innovation is being undertaken.   We have assisted hundreds of companies across sectors such as Construction, Energy, Technology, Software and Food & Drink.

Successful innovation requires companies to deploy expertise together with significant time and money.   At AAB we work hard to optimise our client’s claims for tax relief which assists in funding the next innovative project. This is in accordance with the UK government intentions of supporting the UK remain at the forefront of world innovation.

We invest our expertise and experienced to ensure our claims are diligently constructed to protect the relief claimed should HMRC seek to verify the innovation.



“ We aim to  make clients stop and think about how they do things. I’ll challenge and question them to identify their innovation as compared to what the capability in the field is.   Our expert advisers ensure the innovation is clearly and concisely captured to support the tax relief.   By understanding the legislation, we are able to guide our clients and recognise  the innovation activitiesthat will meet the requirements of tax legislation and highlight those that will not.  By doing so we aim to protect the valued relationship of our clients with HMRC.”



“My aim is always to deliver clients higher returns through intelligent structuring and innovative tax advice delivered with a commercial focus.

Nothing is too difficult for us to tackle; we deal with complex structures and tax legislation. My job is to take complexity and give our clients clarity. I’m able to take information that can be confusing and deliver advice in a clear, commercial way. I use the analogy ‘it’s like taking a complicated encyclopaedia and turning it into a Ladybird book.”



“What really motivates me is taking people’s problems away. It’s a lonely world being a business owner, they make decisions every day and it’s about who they trust to discuss those decisions with. I like to think I’m that person and I’m able to provide support, advice and more importantly peace of mind.

What excites me is meeting more business owners that I can do that for. For me, the biggest compliment a client has ever paid me is when they told me that I would be the first person they would ring for advice.”



“Not only do we look after our clients, but I’m proud about how AAB look after their people. We give everyone a day off to do something for a charitable cause that they are passionate about. We’re always looking for how we can improve the lives of our team members and the communities we operate within.

It’s very satisfying to work for an organisation that does that and it’s not because we have to do it, it’s because we want to do it to enrich the lives of our people.”

Mark Graves

Partner in the Innovation Tax team



Companies across almost all sectors including software, fintech, engineering, manufacturing, medical devices, professional services, biotech, agriculture and construction.

Clients ranging from one person start-ups through to quoted companies and multinationals, with a specialism in working with high growth start-ups as prior to working in R&D claims I spent 20 years founding, advising, undertaking investor due diligence and personally investing in a number of high growth start-up companies.

With colleagues who focus on the tax issues for overseas companies seeking to establish a  UK place  of  operations  I assist them understand how their UK business can  maximise tax incentives that  exist to encourage innovation in the UK.



I primarily help clients by preparing robust R&D claims, which assits them to reduce their Corporation Tax liability or generates a cash rebate based on their qualifying R&D expenditure. As intended by the UK government, I view an R&D claim as part of an holistic debt/equity funding runway which can be optimised to i­­­n order to maximise the growth opportunities whilst minimising the founder equity dilution.



I work mainly with Innovation Tax but also liaise with clients to make introductions to others with AAB Group who assist with matters relevant to Business Advisory Services, International Tax and Corporate Finance



Mark Graves is a Partner and member of the Innovation Tax team. Mark primarily works on the technical analysis of R&D claims, preparing technical reports to support the claims, identifying qualifying expenditure and liaIsing with his accounting and tax colleagues on the preparation of the associated tax computations and claims. He is experienced at handling HMRC investigations into R&D claims, although thankfully this takes a minimal amount of his time as he and his team prepare robust claims to minimise the risk of an investigation. He also works on the technical aspects relating to Patent Box claims.



“For me, the ideal relationship with a client is one that spans from inception to an IPO. It is great travelling on the journey with a client and being able to provide different kinds of support as the company grows.”



“The field of R&D tax credits has attracted a number of unregulated advisors who encourage clients to make claims when they are not eligible and miss opportunities to claim when clients are eligible. Clients should expect an R&D claims advisor to legitimately maximise the value of a claim when there is a genuine claim and to clearly identify where it is posssible to make a claim when the work undertaken does not meet the required technical eligibility criteria.”



“It’s exciting to work with high tech clients, because it means we get to see a great deal of state-of-the-art technology before it become public.

In terms of working with colleagues, the most satisfying thing is working with specialists in different fields, especially the overlap of technical domain knowledge and specialist taxation knowledge to come up with a highly optimised integrated solution.”



“R&D taxation is an area of taxation that is not always black or white.  There are areas where the determination of whether a project falls into the definition of R&D for tax purposes is subjective.  Therefore, where we believe our client has a legitimate claim, we diligently seek out data to support the claim being made and collate evidence to support our position should the authenticity  of a claim be challenged.”



“Our work requires us to have a detailed understanding of the technology being developed by our clients. In some cases, such as for software clients, it is more appropriate to look at large amounts of data sent electronically and for other clients, such as those in the agriculture sector, it might be more appropriate to put on our wellies and go and visit the client. The mix of virtual to physical interaction may evolve over time as the nature of the R&D project changes – there is no set solution it is all about optimising the transfer of knowledge between us and the client.”



“When I was writing my PhD thesis in computer science, the internet had only just been invented and many of the technologies such as big data, blockchain, microservice architectures did not even exist and so I have had to learn about these as they emerged. I have also had to learn many new areas of technology outside those I studied at University or worked on in industry such as graphene, CBD, electric vehicle technology etc. This doesn’t really stop – we have to become experts in new areas of technology as they emerge.”



“It’s really exciting to be working with a range of colleagues that can provide such a wide variety of services to companies. Whilst R&D tax credits are a great source of helping companies fund innovation through corporation tax reduction/cash rebates, they should be considered as part of a funding runway including debt/equity financing as well as other forms of innovative financing such as factoring, licensing etc. Only a company of the size of AAB can provide specialists in a number of fields to provide a fully optimised solution over the lifetime of a company.”



“At MFL we have grown by providing a highly specialised niche service to our clients. We can now grow further within AAB by providing that same niche expertise to existing AAB clients and also by utilising the wide range of services at AAB for our own clients.”



“The greatest strengths that I bring to AAB are my expertise and my experience. I have a deep expertise in a number of areas of technology – specifically software, fintech, advanced materials, machine learning, electronic engineering. I have thorough expertise and experience in R&D tax credits, the preparation of claims and in HMRC investigations.

I am also a part qualified patent attorney and can bring this expertise to helping Patent Box clients. I have founded and co-founded tech start-ups, invested in over 200 startup companies and worked for investors (including a dragon from Dragon’s Den) and so have a wide knowledge of the tech start-up ecosystem.”



“The R&D tax credit field has attracted a large number of unregulated and risk taking advisors, encouraging clients to make claims completely out of the scope of what should be claimed and therefore it has been compared to the PPI industry. We welcome HMRC taking an active part in ensuring claims are accurate and have a robust defence available as this will improve professionalism within the field and allow truly innovative companies access to innovation funding as is the UK government’s objective.”