Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credits

Helping businesses identify, qualify for, and obtain their fair share of allowable credits.

Is your business getting the full tax benefit for your research and development (R&D) activities?

Many businesses overlook a tax incentive for R&D activities because the tax law is so complicated and they simply do not view improvements made to products or business operations as R&D activities.

Normally, when companies think of research and development they are focused on the development of new, cutting-edge products or design standards for their industry. While these highly technical activities generally qualify for the research credit, many of the day-to-day activities of companies may qualify as well.

For income tax purposes, the definition of a qualified activity for the Research & Experimentation (R&E) Tax Credit or the research and development (R&D) Tax Credit includes not only the development of new products, but also improvements to products, processes, techniques, formulas, patents, and software applications.

Research Tax Credit Is Permanently Extended and Enhanced
In December 2015, Congress passed the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act. Prior to this bill, Congress has been extending the tax credit every year or two since its inception; this passage creates a favorable benefit for many taxpayers. Learn more.

Who Can Benefit?
The R&D credit can apply to a variety of companies including manufacturers, software developers, engineers, design/build contractors, and architects. If your company performs any of the following activities, you may qualify for a substantial tax credit:

  • Manufacture products
  • Develop new, improved, or more reliable products/processes/formulas
  • Develop prototypes and models, including computer-generated models
  • Design tools, jigs, dies, molds, and dies
  • Nonroutine program of CNC machines
  • Design products to customer specifications
  • Develop or apply for patents
  • Conduct new concept and technology testing
  • Develop new technology
  • Attempt to use new materials
  • Perform environmental testing
  • Add new equipment
  • Develop or improve production/manufacturing processes
  • Improve or build new manufacturing facilities
  • Automate or streamline internal processes
  • Develop software or hardware
  • Prepare feasibility studies
  • Incorporate new construction materials into building designs
  • Design buildings to achieve a certain energy efficiency goal
  • Design buildings with unique features or space plans
  • Develop temporary structures used in the construction process

Our Approach
How large of a tax credit could you receive? Though others may claim it, no one can give you a quick calculation of your tax credit based on a few line items on your tax returns. Our approach includes three main steps:

  • An initial meeting with a few key individuals in your company to determine if you have activities that qualify as research and development.
  • A feasibility study, requiring a day or two at your site. We’ll meet with individuals from various departments to quantify at a high level the amount of credit opportunity and your costs to document it.
  • A full study, providing thorough documentation and finalization of the R&D activities that qualify for the credit.

Your Dedicated Team of Experts

Wipfli’s dedicated tax professionals specializing in R&D tax law can help you get the credit you deserve. Our dedicated consultants will help you recognize tax savings opportunities available from the R & D tax credit to lower your tax liability and, therefore, increase cash flow available for other needs. Contact us for an R&D study or to find out how to take advantage of the Research & Experimentation (R&E) tax credit opportunities for research and development within your organization.

Scott Schumacher brings over 15 years of experience, Scott serves as the leader of Wipfli's R&D tax credit services team and conducts studies to ascertain the value of the credit.  View Scott's full profile.


Valerie Fedie brings a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities her clients face with new product and/or process improvements, Valerie’s extensive experience includes planning, supervising, and executing research and development tax incentive projects. View Valerie's full profile.


Christopher Blaylock provides a proactive approach by utilizing his exemplary analytical and client service skills to gain a thorough understanding of your core operations in order to help meet your business objectives. View Christopher's full profile.

  Greta Heike consults with a variety of clients in various industries to help you understand R&D opportunities in relation to your new product development and process improvements and then help to maximize your R&D credit benefits. View Greta's full profile.
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Featured Success Story

Mallard Manufacturing

Wipfli helped Mallard understand that although tax credits have been around for more than 25 years, the definitions of R&D activities have broadened in recent years. Mallard relied on outdated, narrow definitions of what qualifies for the credit and the company quickly recognized it might be missing valuable opportunities.


Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credits
By Topic:   

Research Tax Credit Permanently Extended and Enhanced

The PATH Act of 2015 impacted a number of significant tax-saving provisions, including the research tax credit. Learn more
Real stories; real money.

Over the years, Wipfli has helped many businesses identify meaningful tax credits. Read how Wipfli helped five manufacturers get the credit they deserved.

Real stories, real money: How five manufacturers got their fair share of research and development tax credits.