R&D Tax Credits are a great tax planning tool for manufacturers

11.16.12

Many business owners are unaware of the Federal research and development (R&D) tax credit which is available to companies that invest resources aimed at producing an improved product or process.  The R&D tax credit is available to businesses of all sizes that design, develop, or improve a product, process, formula, or technique within the United States.  The tax credit was implemented to encourage companies to invest resources to improve their competitive edge and stimulate economic growth.

The Federal R&D tax credit was introduced in the 1980s and was initially thought to apply to businesses that had on-site laboratories or developed breakthrough research.  However, more than 20 years after the credit was introduced, Federal regulations were provided to more liberally define qualified expenditures which created a gateway for more businesses to qualify for the tax credit.  The R&D tax credit is allowed for expenses paid or incurred for research or experimental expenditures which generally include all costs incident to the development or improvement of a product or process.  Research and experimental expenditures include both in-house and contract research expenditures for wages paid and supplies used.

The following is a basic example of how the tax credit can work.  ABC Company employees an engineer to run a machine shop and perform product testing at an annual salary of $100,000.  The engineer spends 80 percent of his time with operational matters and 20 percent of his time testing new and improved products.  In addition, ABC Company provides the engineer with $30,000 of supplies to perform product testing.  In this case the potential R&D tax credit could be as high as $5,000, which is calculated as 50 percent of the qualified wages and supplies multiplied by a 20 percent R&D tax credit percentage.

The R&D tax credit is often an overlooked and misunderstood tax incentive.  Due to federal regulations clarifying qualified expenditures, qualified activities no longer need to result in new technological breakthroughs, but only need to involve the use technological principals to develop a new or improved product or process to your organization.  Your Apple Growth Partners advisor can help you understand more about the R&D tax credit.  For more information please call us at 330-867-7350.

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