Tag Archives: Research And Development Tax Credit

Deb Roth, Managing Director, R&D Tax Consulting

Deb Roth, Managing Director, R&D Tax Consulting

In 2005, responding to customer requests for a flavorful gluten-free beer, this specialty brewery began experimenting with new formulations that would satisfy beer connoisseurs. Typically, gluten-free beers are generic white lagers that lack the exotic flavor and aroma of popular microbrewery beers. The challenge the company faced was creating a balance of gluten-free ingredients that worked together without creating a bitter brew. After continued experimentation, the company successfully developed a gluten-free beer that lived up to customer expectations.

SourceHOV|Tax began conducting R&D tax credit studies for the company in 2005 when the company’s revenues were $10 million. For nearly a decade, the company has benefitted from R&D credits averaging $65,000 annually. This $65,000 offset in taxes has allowed it to continue investing in the development of additional brews, and in 2013 it reached $70 million in sales. The company’s ability to grow at this pace is, in large part, driven by sales of its new products.

This recent court case favored the company claiming the R&D tax credit.

http://www.cbiz.com/page.asp?pid=8761

Laura Kushner, Director of Marketing

Laura Kushner, Director of Marketing

The United States was one of the first countries to enact a federal tax credit for R&D in 1981, and throughout that decade we had the most generous R&D incentive in the world. However, other countries soon realized the benefit of the R&D credit and adopted not only similar but often more lucrative credits.

By 1996, the U.S. ranked only 7th in R&D tax generosity out of the countries that had an R&D credit, and by 2004 we had slipped to 17th place. The key reason — every other country with an R&D tax credit has increased the generosity of those credits. Not only has the U.S. not increased the credit, but to date Congress has not yet extended the credit for 2010. The result – by 2009 the U.S. ranked dead last — leaving the number one position to France.

However, if Congress were to enhance the R&D tax credit and make it permanent as other countries have done instead of simply extending it each year, the result would be an immediate and positive impact on U.S. innovation and job creation.

For example, a study by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation think tank suggests that raising the Alternative Simplified (ASC) R&D tax credit rate from 14 to 20 percent would create 162,000 jobs in the short-term and an unspecified number of additional jobs in the longer-term. ITIF also estimates that raising the ASC would increase the annual GDP by $90 billion, the number of patents issued by 3,850 and federal tax revenues by $17 billion.

Raising the ASC to 20 percent would bump the U.S. R&D tax generosity rank to number 10. However, we would need to increase the ASC to 31 percent to move to 5th place and to a whopping 47 percent in order to reclaim the number one spot with the most generous R&D credit of the 21 countries that currently offer one.

Fortunately for American businesses, all but about 12 states offer a state R&D credit. Some of these state credits are more lucrative than the federal credit, and some are even fully refundable.

For example, New York has a refundable credit, specifically for companies with revenues under $10 million, that averages between 9-18%. Starting in tax year 2010, the Minnesota state credit will be expanded and made refundable. Louisiana has one of the most lucrative credits of all the states. Depending on the size of the company, the credit can be from 8 to 40 percent, and it is also refundable.

Companies located in states that offer a state R&D credit can realize significant dollars in tax credits, especially when combined with the federal credit. These dollars can be reinvested to fund additional R&D which, in turn, will boost both innovation and job creation in the U.S.

Last month, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty signed into law a jobs bill that includes enhancements to the state’s Research and Development tax credit.

The bill expanded Minnesota’s R&D tax credit, making it more attractive for small to large-sized companies that conduct R&D activities in the state.

Major changes to the MN R&D Credit:

1. Effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2009, partners in a partnership and shareholders in an S corporation may now take the R&D credit. Previously, only C corporations could take the credit.
2. The tax credit increased and now equals 10 percent of the first $2 million of excess qualified research expenses for the taxable year over the base amount. For excess expenses over $2 million, the credit equals 2.5 percent.
3. The credit for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2009, is now refundable.

ACTION ITEMS

All pass-through entities should seek to take advantage of the Minnesota R&D in 2010.

In addition, all companies that have had losses for several years, and have never taken the state credit, should take advantage of the credit in 2010 to obtain a refund.

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