Common Misconceptions About R&D Tax Credits

Common Misconceptions About R&D Tax Credits

The Research & Development (R&D) tax credit can enable businesses to increase cash flow and savings, reduce the Federal income tax rate, and receive Federal and State dollar-for-dollar income tax reductions. Specifically, a wide variety of businesses can potentially offset up to $500,000 in payroll tax liability for qualifying activities.

However, there are many misconceptions about the R&D tax credit that prevent businesses from taking advantage of it.
Here are the 6 most common myths:

Myth 1: The R&D Tax Credit is Only For Businesses with a Large Amount of Revenue

Many people falsely believe the R&D tax credit is only for businesses with a large amount of revenue. However, businesses with a revenue of less than $5 million in the current year are able to claim the credit.

Myth 2: Start-Ups Can’t Claim the R&D Tax Credit

Start-ups and small businesses can claim the R&D tax credit. If your business has 5 years or less in revenue, you are eligible for the credit (as long as you meet the additional qualifying criteria, which include having $5 million or less in revenue in the current year and conducting qualifying research activities).

Myth 3: The Business Must Conduct Scientific Research to Claim the Tax Credit

A business does not have to conduct scientific research in order to claim the R&D tax credit. There are a large number of activities that qualify, including (but not limited to) automating or improving internal manufacturing processes, designing tools or fixtures, integrating new equipment, developing financial pricing models, developing data centers, integrating APIs and similar technologies, and many more.

Myth 4: A New Product Must Be Created To Count as a Qualified Research Activity

This is false. You do not need to create a new product in order for the activity to qualify for the R&D tax credit – improving an existing product, process, or formula can count as a qualified research activity.

Myth 5: Only Businesses in a Research Industry Can Claim the Credit

The R&D tax credit applies to any industry, as long as the business conducts qualified research activities

Myth 6: The R&D Tax Credit Can Only Be Claimed For the Previous Tax Year

One of the most significant benefits of the R&D tax credit is it can be claimed for tax years that go back 3 to 4 years.

Have a question about R&D Tax Credit? Meet Author Deborah Roth.

Request immediate action from Eric Larson, Director, Source Advisors.


As the Managing Director of Research & Development (R&D) Tax Credit Services for Source Advisors, primary responsibilities include executive leadership and oversight of the R&D department, professional staff training and development, technical guidance, and process improvements to maximize efficiency.
You can reach out to Deborah Roth by contacting Eric Larson for immediate help at: 415-730-5247

Works with clients in multiple industries including the automotive, medical, telecom, software/hardware, financial services, furniture, appliance and various other industries under the manufacturing umbrella. Has overseen more than 4000 R&D Tax Credit projects in various industries resulting in more than $1.6 billion of R&D tax credits for clients.

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