The federal R&D tax credit has been a part of the tax code since 1981, rewarding businesses in a wide variety of industries for making improvements to their products, processes, or techniques. The credit is designed to encourage the American industry to invest in research and development activities including but not limited to design, development, engineering, experimentation, trial and error, process improvement, software development and improvement, quality assurance and more. This wage based credit is intended to stimulate R&D activities among businesses through tax incentives.
The federal credit (and the 43 state versions of the credit that have risen over the years) essentially reward those companies that are thinking bigger and better about their products or services, providing valuable tax credits for their R&D investment. Currently, the R&D tax credit and other related tax breaks save U.S. businesses more than $12 billion a year, as noted in the Washington Post.
Certainly an impressive figure—and one that would be even larger if all eligible businesses in all qualified industries actually applied for the credit. The R&D credit is one of the most overlooked opportunities afforded to U.S. businesses, with the vast majority of eligible companies (and, in many instances, their CPAs) self-censoring away from the credit.
Anytime a business makes changes to the design or development process to make it cheaper, greener, cleaner, better, and quicker, the business could be earning tax credits. This tax credit can be applied to both new product development as well as the production side of manufacturing, software development, fabrication, machine shops, agriculture, architecture, biotechnology, as well as a broad range of other industries. These dollar for dollar credits can make a positive impact on your bottom line.
Our financial tax team has vast experience in structuring these credits for our clients.