Articles

02Feb

FAQ: Does Survey, Opinion and Marketing Research Qualify for the Research & Development (R&D) Tax Credit?

In 1981, the R&D Tax Credit (also known as the Research & Experimentation Tax Credit) was signed into law. It was envisioned as a temporary measure to incentivize companies to keep high-tech jobs in the United States and boost corporate growth. Since then, the tax credit has been extended at least a dozen times.

According to the explanations on IRS Form 6765 , research expenditures that qualify for the credit “ must be undertaken for discovering information that is technological in nature, and its application must be intended for use in developing a new or improved business component of the taxpayer. In addition, substantially all of the activities of the research must be elements of a process of experimentation relating to a new or improved function, performance, reliability, or quality .”

The Form explicitly states that the “ research credit generally is not allowed for ” such activities as “ surveys or studies.” The credit has always been aimed at manufacturing (although it expanded to cover some information technology development). It is NOT aimed at survey, opinion and marketing research, or any other form of social science research.

We recommend you consult your accountant about any attempts to utilize this or any other tax credits or deductions.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for guidance and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. All parties should consult with private legal counsel regarding the interpretation and application of any laws to your business.

About the Author

Howard Fienberg

Howard Fienberg

Based in Washington, DC, Howard is the Insights Association's lobbyist for the marketing research and data analytics industry, focusing primarily on consumer privacy and data security, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), tort reform, and the funding and integrity of the decennial Census and the American Community Survey (ACS). Howard has more than two decades of public policy experience. Before the Insights Association, he worked in Congress as senior legislative staffer for then-Representatives Christopher Cox (CA-48) and Cliff Stearns (FL-06). He also served more than four years with a science policy think tank, working to improve the understanding of scientific and social research and methodology among journalists and policymakers. Howard is also co-director of The Census Project, a 900+ member coalition in support of a fair and accurate Census and ACS. He has also served previously on the Board of Directors for the National Institute for Lobbying and Ethics and and the Association of Government Relations Professionals. Howard has an MA International Relations from the University of Essex in England and a BA Honors Political Studies from Trent University in Canada, and has obtained the Certified Association Executive (CAE), Professional Lobbying Certificate (PLC) and the Public Policy Certificate (PPC). When not running advocacy for the Insights Association, Howard enjoys hockey, NFL football, sci-fi and horror movies, playing with his dog, and spending time with family and friends.

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