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Abstract image portraying a head split in half with branches extending outward - Inflation Reduction Act.

Research Credit Potentially Doubled By The Inflation Reduction Act

Hidden within the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 lies a game-changer for small business startups: the potential to double your Research & Development (R&D) tax credit against payroll taxes. This little-known provision can provide a crucial cash flow boost in your company’s early years, when profits are often scarce but innovation is critical.

But how does it work, and are you eligible? Let’s break it down:

Claim Up to $500,000 in Payroll Tax Relief

Previously, startups could claim a maximum of $250,000 of their R&D tax credit to offset payroll taxes. Now, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, that limit has doubled to $500,000 for tax year 2023 and beyond. This means you can significantly reduce your employer’s share of Social Security and Medicare taxes (6.2%), freeing up valuable resources for growth and development.

Why is this so beneficial for startups?

Early-stage companies often don’t have taxable profits to offset their R&D credit. But even though you aren’t making a profit, you’re likely incurring qualified research expenses like:

  • Wages for engineers and scientists
  • Cost of materials and supplies
  • Payments to contract research organizations

Under the old rules, those expenses wouldn’t provide much immediate benefit. Now, you can turn them into tangible cash savings by applying them directly to your payroll taxes.

Qualifying for the Double R&D Tax Credit

To take advantage of this powerful incentive, your company must be a Qualified Small Business (QSB). Here’s what that means:

  • Must be formed within the past 5 years: You can only claim the payroll tax credit in your first 5 years of operation.
  • Gross receipts under $5 million: Your annual revenue during the year you claim the credit must be less than $5 million.
  • Not a tax-exempt organization: This benefit is for for-profit businesses only.

Understanding the Research Credit

The R&D tax credit itself is calculated as 20% of your qualified research expenses exceeding a base amount. You can also use a simplified method, which gives you 14% of your qualifying expenses above 50% of your average research spending in the previous three years.

How to Claim the Credit:

  1. Calculate your R&D tax credit: This involves identifying and documenting your qualified research expenses.
  2. Offset tax liability: First, use the credit to offset any income tax liability from the previous year.
  3. Apply to payroll taxes: Any remaining credit (up to $500,000) can be used to reduce your employer’s share of payroll taxes for the current year.
  4. Carry forward unused credit: Any unused portion of the credit can be carried forward to the next year.

Remember, you won’t see this benefit on your tax returns until 2024 as it applies to the 2023 tax year. But by planning ahead and understanding the details, you can ensure your young company leverages this powerful tool to maximize its cash flow and fuel its growth.

Still have questions about claiming the expanded R&D tax credit? We understand! This provision can be intricate, and navigating the intricacies of tax legislation can feel daunting. That’s why we encourage you to explore our comprehensive resources or get in touch with our knowledgeable team. We’re here to empower your business success by helping you unlock the benefits of this valuable incentive.

Don’t let this hidden gem in the Inflation Reduction Act go unnoticed. Double your R&D tax credit, boost your cash flow, and propel your startup to new heights!

JS Morlu LLC is a top-tier accounting firm based in Woodbridge, Virginia, with a team of highly experienced and qualified CPAs and business advisors. We are dedicated to providing comprehensive accounting, tax, and business advisory services to clients throughout the Washington, D.C. Metro Area and the surrounding regions. With over a decade of experience, we have cultivated a deep understanding of our clients’ needs and aspirations. We recognize that our clients seek more than just value-added accounting services; they seek a trusted partner who can guide them towards achieving their business goals and personal financial well-being.
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