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State Research and Development Tax Credits: Navigating Multi-State Apportionment Rules

Identifying State Deviations From Federal Treatment, Uncovering R&D Tax Benefits for Companies With Net Losses

Recording of a 110-minute CPE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This course will provide tax advisers and compliance professionals with a thorough and practical guide to claiming research and development (R&D) income tax credits in a multi-state setting. The panel will discuss how to determine activities that may be treated as qualified research activities (QRAs), offer guidance on documenting and claiming the credit, and detail key states’ rules governing R&D credits. The event will focus on small to mid-size companies and will give practical tools to assist tax professionals in claiming these valuable and often overlooked tax credits.


For many small and medium sized businesses, R&D tax credits are one of the most underutilized of all tax benefits. This is particularly true for companies operating in multiple states. Tax advisers face challenges in navigating various states’ rules on qualified research expenditures, determining when state rules deviate from federal R&D tax credit treatment, and identifying sourcing rules when claiming tax benefits for R&D expenditures.

The majority of states offer tax incentives for R&D expenditures. While most states conform to federal practice in determining what activities qualify for R&D benefits and calculation of qualified research expenditures (QREs) eligible for credit, there are some significant differences. Advisers can avoid state tax by structuring research activities to occur in jurisdictions with the most favorable R&D tax benefit regime.

Beginning with the 2016 tax year, Congress made two massive changes to expand the federal benefits of R&D credits. Startup companies, defined as firms with less than $5M in annual gross receipts and no gross receipts for more than five tax years may utilize the federal credit against payroll tax liability as opposed to income tax liability. Eligible companies may also apply R&D credits to offset AMT liabilities. These initiatives make claiming the R&D credit even more attractive, and make a thorough grasp of the rules for documenting R&D activities even more critical for tax advisers.

States have slightly different methodologies for calculating credit amounts and varying approaches to providing tax benefits to startups or companies with net operating losses. So, companies operating in multiple states often miss out on this crucial tax benefit. R&D activities in a state may create or affect income apportioned to the state, such as payroll or property increasing income apportioned to a three-factor state where R&D activities occur.

Listen as our experienced panel provides a thorough and practical review of calculating, claiming and substantiating a Section 41 R&D credit.



  1. States offering R&D tax credits and incentives
  2. Variances from federal rules in calculating of QREs for purposes of calculating tax credits
  3. Sourcing rules
  4. States’ approaches to calculating inclusion ratios and apportionment
  5. Documentation requirements


The panel will discuss these and other important topics:

  • States that offer tax incentives for R&D activities
  • States’ approaches for providing R&D tax incentives for startup enterprises and companies with net operating losses
  • States’ variances from federal rules in calculating QREs
  • Various state rules for calculating inclusion ratios and apportionment factors for R&D credits


Joe Stoddard, CPA
Joe Stoddard, CPA

Eide Bailly

Mr. Stoddard provides tax consulting services to industries including manufacturing, technology, construction,...  |  Read More

Laughlin, Daniel
Daniel F. Laughlin


Mr. Laughlin is responsible for tax incentive engagements, including the R&D Tax Credit, Work Opportunity Tax...  |  Read More

Roberts, Stacey
Stacey L. Roberts, CPA

State and Local Tax Director

Ms. Roberts has been making SALT less taxing for thousands of businesses over the last 25 years. As a director of the...  |  Read More

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