The omnibus appropriations legislation passed by congress last week included a permanent extension of the research and development tax credit, a measure with important implications for the photonics industry and the U.S. economy. SPIE leadership applauded the move, which should erase uncertainty that had accompanied the credit in previous years.
"Making the R&D tax credit permanent was a welcome step by Congress and something that SPIE has been advocating for years," said James McNally, chair of the SPIE Engineering, Science & Technology Policy Committee. "There is bipartisan recognition that innovation is extremely important to the US economy. The federal R&D funding in the omnibus bill with its modest increase will certainly result in innovation, most in the longer term. Tax incentives for corporations to innovate are another way government can quickly help stimulate our economy, and the R&D tax credit is a small but important element of these."
Slightly revised from previous temporary versions, the R&D tax credit allows companies averaging less than $50 million in gross receipts to claim the credit against Alternative Minimum Tax. It also allows startups to take the credit; companies averaging less than $5 million in gross receipts may apply the credit against payroll taxes, up to $250,000 annually.
The funding package included increased amounts for most government science agencies, including a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health and $1 billion more for NASA. Also included in the legislation was an extension of the solar energy Investment Tax Credit
The $1.8 trillion tax and spending package passed with bipartisan support and was signed by President Obama on 18 December.