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IRC 174: Things are changing

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    • Apr 12, 2022
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IRC 174 things are changing

Things are changing, and we’re here to keep you updated with the latest rules regarding the IRC 174 research expenses! For tax return filings with respect to the 2022 tax year (typically filed in 2023 for the 2022 tax year), a company cannot fully expense their research expenditures under IRC § 174 for the year, instead they must amortize such expenditures over five years. The new rules require companies to capitalize and amortize all IRC § 174 domestic qualified research expenses, including software development expenditures, over five years, using the half year depreciation convention.

All expenses claimed in the research credit computation under IRC § 41 must be captured as IRC § 174 costs and amortized over five years.

This change to the rules impacts the research credit because prior to 2022, an expense that was not categorized under IRC § 174 could still be used for the IRC § 41 credit if the expense could have been claimed under § 174. However, in 2022, in addition to the capitalization/ amortization requirement, in order to claim the costs as a qualified research expense under IRC § 41, the costs must be treated as an IRC § 174 expense and capitalized over five years. This means all expenses claimed in the research credit computation under IRC § 41 must be captured as IRC § 174 costs and amortized over five years.

Here’s an example:

As an example, in 2022, an employee is paid $120,000 and performs qualified research activities. In order for a company to claim the employee’s $120,000 of wages as a qualified research expense under IRC § 41, the company must claim the $120,000 as an IRC § 174 cost, subject to amortization over five years rather than be able to fully expense the cost.

tax return filings with respect to the 2022 tax year

The second big change to the research tax credit took effect on January 10, 2022 where the IRS requires all research tax credit refund claims to include the following documentation in an attached statement with the tax return:

  • Identify all business components to which the IRC Section 41 research credit claim relates for the year.
  • For each business component, identify all research activities performed and name the individuals who performed each research activity.
  • Provide the total qualified employee wage expenses, supply expenses, and total contract research expenses for the claim year using Form 6765, Credit for Increasing Research Activities.

The IRS indicates that the information required in the first two bullets above should be written out in a statement rather than simply providing documents. If a company provides a Technical Report, the IRS states that the company must cite the exact pages that support the specific items mentioned above in an attached statement, merely providing the documents such as a Technical Report will be considered insufficient and invalid.

Although the information was routinely requested during IRS audits, these items are now mandated when submitting a research credit claim for refund in order for the IRS to process a refund request.

Utilize Leyton’s Tax Professionals to maximize your claim!

Leyton’s mission is to educate the market on the value of the R&D Tax Credit, allowing companies to continually innovate, reinvest and grow their business.

We work with thousands of businesses each year to maximize the financial benefit they receive from R&D Tax Credits, Reverse Sales & Use Tax Audits, Employee Retention Credits, and other tax incentives. In the past year alone, we have identified over $1.5B in client tax savings.

We’d love the opportunity to partner with your firm, expand your service offerings and create the best possible experience for you and your clients.

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