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What the FORWARD Act Means for the R&D Tax Credit

There are thousands of reasons to apply for the R&D tax credit—and the FORWARD Act may add a few more. The bill, which was introduced by Senators Chris Coons and Pat Roberts–a move to rescue our Covid-19-devastated economymakes the R&D tax credit more accessible than it’s ever been. If the FORWARD Act passes, it will open the tax-credit door to even more small- and medium-sized businesses, increase the credit for domestic manufacturers, and—get this—may even cover some of your R&D training costs. Not a bad deal. Now all we need is for Congress to push the bill out of the discussion stage and into action. 

 Here’s what’s on the table: 

  1. More relief for more businesses: Right now, companies with up to $5 million in gross receipts can use the R&D tax credit to offset their payroll tax for five years. Under the new legislation, however, companies with up to $20 million of gross receipts will be eligible for up to eight years. A huge difference (we did the math). 
  2. Lower training costs for activities. Why should a single company have to cover the cost of training employees for innovations that create jobs and strengthen the U.S. economy? The FORWARD Act expands the R&D tax credit to cover worker training costs, so everybody wins.  
  3. Incentives to manufacture at home. The government has never been so grateful to U.S. manufacturers for creating jobs, strengthening the economy, and lately, responding to urgent Covid-19 needs by producing masks, drugs, and ventilatorsThe FORWARD Act’s reward? Increasing the dollar amount of their R&D tax credits. After all, they deserve it.  
  4. Benefits for more industries. Software companies, manufacturersarchitecture, and engineering firms have always been great candidates for the R&D tax credit. But now, thanks to expansions like the FORWARD Act, even more businesses qualify: Government contractors, bankand stores that develop internal software, and start-ups, chances are good that you qualify now, too. So, looks like there’s only one thing to do: Apply.