Food Manufacturers Benefit From R&D Tax Incentives

During the holiday season, many of us end up at a holiday party or two, celebrating with friends, family, and colleagues. It so happens, I was at a holiday gathering recently where a business colleague and I were sampling sweets while discussing corporate taxes when she asked, “Do cookie makers qualify for R&D Tax Credits?”

The short answer is, “absolutely.”

Food Manufacturers Develop New and Improved Products

Food manufacturers, like other types of manufacturing companies, work hard to improve their market positions and bottom lines by developing new and improved products. For food manufacturers, research and development efforts might focus on meeting increasing demands for better flavor, improved shelf-life, reduced sodium, lower sugar and calories, as well as creating gluten-free and low-fat food items.

In addition to spending significant time and money addressing consumer demands, food manufacturers also invest heavily to improve production processes, throughput, and efficiency and to keep pace with ever-changing government and industry regulations.

As a result, cookie makers and other food manufacturing businesses are able to take advantage of federal and state R&D Tax Credit initiatives to substantially reduce their tax burdens – just like any other manufacturer. Many reinvest those saved tax dollars in their businesses to hire new employees, purchase equipment, and help reduce the cost of future development.

Examples of qualifying food industry activities:




If your firm engages in any of these or similar activities, you may be owed tax credits or refunds.

So, what is the R&D Tax Credit?

It’s a business tax credit created by Congress to promote innovation and jobs. Federal and state R&D Tax Credits can amount to as much as 20% of the costs incurred in developing new products, processes, and software as well as improving existing products, processes, and software. The R&D Tax Credit is not a deduction — it is a dollar-for-dollar credit against taxes owed or taxes paid.

Just How Substantial can These Tax Credits be?

We conducted a study for a food manufacturing company that has been in business for over 20 years. We analyzed their qualifying activities and expenses (such as wages, supplies, and contract expenses) for one tax year and discovered that the company was able to claim approximately $108,000 in federal research and development tax credits. The company used the savings to purchase new equipment for R&D projects in the subsequent year.

If you’re in the food and beverage industry and engage in any of the previously mentioned qualifying activities, there’s a good chance that you would benefit from the R&D Tax Credit. The federal government awards billions of dollars in R&D credits every year, and if your company is not considering the potential of this tax incentive, you could be missing out on your share of these significant tax benefits.

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