How to Identify R&D Tax Credit Requirements in Your Business

3 Minute Read
Posted by Randy Eickhoff on Sep 29, 2023 12:30:00 PM

The Research and Development (R&D) tax credit offers U.S. business owners a dollar-for-dollar incentive to encourage innovation and technological advancement across over 40 different industries. This credit offers qualifying U.S. organizations an opportunity to reduce overall tax burden while promoting future investments in research and development activities to maintain its competitive edge both nationally and globally. 

While the R&D tax credit can prove an invaluable resource for U.S. companies, identifying research and development tax credit requirements can be complex, challenging, and at times, overwhelming. Knowing some of the most essential components to identify and understand eligibility requirements when claiming R&D tax credits can help you determine if your operations qualify for this incentive. 

Get Familiar With Current R&D Tax Credit Legislation

The first step in identifying R&D tax credit requirements is to familiarize yourself with the relevant tax laws and regulations. R&D tax credit programs may differ between states and federal jurisdictions, making it crucial to comprehend the specific rules and eligibility criteria that pertain to your business.

Pinpoint Qualified Research Activities

To claim R&D tax credits, your business must engage in qualified research activities. Qualified research activities typically involve the development of new products, processes, or software, or the improvement of existing ones through technological advancements. While some activities are easily identified, determining eligibility on some projects can be complex, making it critical to seek guidance from an R&D tax expert.  

Run Activities Through Four-Part Test 

The Qualifying Activity Four-Part Test is a crucial assessment that businesses must undertake to determine if their research and development (R&D) projects are eligible for tax credits in the United States. The components of the Four-Part Test stipulate that an activity must:

  • Have a permitted purpose
  • Be technological in nature
  • Eliminate uncertainty
  • Include a process of experimentation

Document all Research and Development Activities and Total Costs

Accurate documentation of your R&D activities and associated costs is critical for claiming R&D tax credits successfully. Maintain comprehensive records that outline the purpose, process, and results of each project, along with the expenses incurred during the research phase. These records will be crucial when substantiating your claim and defending it in case of an audit.

Evaluate Employee Activities and Skill Sets

R&D tax credits often take into account the efforts of the employees involved in the research process. It is essential to assess whether the employees' activities align with qualified research and if their skill sets contribute significantly to the project's success. Properly attributing employee activities to eligible R&D projects is vital to maximize your tax credit claim.

Most Importantly — Always Engage Professional Assistance

Navigating the complexities of R&D tax credit requirements can be overwhelming, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises with limited resources. Seeking professional assistance from tax advisors or R&D tax credit specialists can significantly simplify the process and increase the accuracy of your claim. These experts can help identify eligible projects, maximize qualifying expenditures, and ensure compliance with all necessary regulations.

Schedule a Connect Call With Acena Consulting Today

Identifying R&D tax credit requirements in your business is a crucial step toward benefiting from this valuable incentive. Acena Consulting’s team of experts can help. Schedule a connect call with our team today to see if your business qualifies. 

Randy Eickhoff

Randy Eickhoff

Acena Consulting President Randy Eickhoff, licensed CPA, has partnered with more than 200 companies during more than 20 years of experience securing tax credits and other government incentives. His corporate partners range from multinational technology firms to smaller, privately held manufacturing, sports, and technology enterprises.