The R&D Tax Credit, first enacted in 1981, has been one of the most valuable credits leveraged by companies. Every year, the R&D credit yields billions of dollars in federal and state benefits to companies engaged in qualifying research. Thousands of companies take advantage of the credit across several industries. Some of the common industries that qualify for the R&D tax credit include, but are not limited to:

  • Manufacturing & Fabrication
  • Aerospace & Defense
  • Food Science
  • Software Development
  • Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Life Sciences & Pharmaceutical
  • Tool & Die Casting



There are several benefits to realizing the R&D tax credit. These benefits can include the following:

In addition, The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, signed into law on Dec. 18, 2015, modified and made permanent the R&D tax credit. Small businesses may now claim the credit against alternative minimum tax. Additionally, a small business start-up is now able to claim a credit of up to $250,000 against its FICA payroll tax liability if eligible.


In determining whether your business research activities qualify for the Research & Development Tax Credit, the activities must pass the following four-part test:

1.    The activity must be intended to eliminate technical uncertainty about the development or improvement of the product or process.

2.   A process of experimentation must be undertaken to evaluate one or more alternatives to achieve a result where the capability or the method of achieving that result, or the appropriate design of that result, is uncertain at the beginning of the taxpayer’s research activities.

3.   The activity undertaken must be technological in nature. Whether this test is met depends on whether the process of experimentation utilized in the research fundamentally relies on principles of the hard sciences.  The hard sciences are defined as the physical or biological sciences, engineering or computer science; and 

4.   The activity must be intended to be useful in the development of a new or improved business component of the taxpayer (which means a new or improved product, process, formula, technique, invention or software component).


YES.  In addition to the four-part requirement list above, if you perform qualified research under contract, the following two requirements must also be met:

1.   The taxpayer must retain substantially all of the rights to the research; and

2.   The amounts payable to the taxpayer under the contract must be contingent on the success of the research (i.e., it should be duly noted that the taxpayer must bear the economic risk of loss).


If performing a qualified activity, The R&D credit comprises the following types of Qualified Research Expenses:


DSF’s experts will help you determine eligibility and aim to maximize research credits.  Our comprehensive service includes a credit study, tax preparation support and complete audit defense. DSF will ensure that your business receives current year federal and state tax savings and is refunded for any prior year tax benefits.  Current legislation allows a business to retroactively claim refunds for these tax credits for up to 4 years depending on the tax jurisdiction.  If you believe you are an eligible business, do not wait to contact DSF to start a risk-free review.  Contact us today to discuss what opportunities you have available.

For immediate assistance or to find out more about your research credit benefits, contact Joel Peterson or call (562) 249-6012