carryforward period R&D tax credit

Uncovering the Hidden Power of R&D Tax Credits: The Carryforward Period

In the ever-evolving landscape of business finance, it’s crucial to unearth every opportunity that can bolster your bottom line. One such financial strategy that often operates behind the scenes but can have a substantial impact on your company’s fiscal health is the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit Carryforward Period.


Extending Your Financial Reach with the Carryforward Period R&D

Imagine a scenario where your hard-earned research tax credits don’t go to waste when they remain unused. That’s where the R&D Tax Credit Carryforward Period comes into play. This powerful provision empowers you to carry forward unused research tax credits to offset your future tax liabilities, offering you a level of flexibility and financial freedom that can be a game-changer for your business.

carryforward period R&D tax credit

A Generous 20-Year Horizon

What’s truly remarkable about the R&D Tax Credit Carryforward Period is its generous 20-year duration. This means that if you’ve invested heavily in research and development but haven’t yet seen those investments reflected in your current income, you don’t have to worry. You can hold onto those credits for up to two decades, allowing your business ample time to thrive and succeed. And if you’ve missed the opportunity to apply credits from the previous year, fear not; you can also carry them back for immediate relief.

Overcoming the AMT Challenge

In the past, the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) posed a significant hurdle to fully realizing the benefits of R&D Tax Credits, especially for small businesses. However, the PATH Act of 2015 ushered in a new era by allowing small businesses to offset AMT using research credits starting in 2016. Subsequently, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) took it a step further by eliminating AMT for C-corporations, vastly expanding the scope for utilizing research tax credits to alleviate your tax burdens.

Balancing Act: The 25/25 Limitation

A crucial rule to keep in mind is the “25/25 limitation,” designed to ensure fairness in the utilization of tax credits. Under this rule, if your regular tax liabilities exceed $25,000, you can apply up to 75% of your tax liability using the R&D Tax Credit. This rule strikes a balance between providing financial relief and maintaining fiscal responsibility.

A Real-Life Example

To grasp how this all works in practice, consider the case of a startup software company. This company reported losses in its initial three years (2016-2019) but finally turned a profit in 2020. Despite accumulating $100,000 in research tax credits, it faced a federal tax liability of $120,000. Due to the 25/25 limitation, only $90,000 of the credit could be applied, resulting in a $10,000 carryforward for the next year.

carryforward period R&D tax credit

Mastering NOL Carryforwards

The TCJA introduced changes to net operating losses (NOLs), imposing an 80% limitation for tax years starting after December 31, 2017. However, the CARES Act stepped in to offer relief, allowing NOL carrybacks for specific years and temporarily removing the 80% limitation for tax years commencing after 2020.

State-Level Possibilities

It’s important to note that many states also allow the carryforward of unused R&D Tax Credits, often aligning with the federal 20-year carryforward period. Some states go even further, offering unlimited carryforward options, as seen in the case of California.

Let Us Be Your Guide

Now is the perfect moment to explore, strategize, and optimize your R&D Tax Credits. Regardless of your industry, these credits can be a financial game-changer for your future. Our dedicated team at is ready to assist you in identifying and harnessing the incredible potential of the R&D Tax Credit Carryforward Period.


While this blog post provides a condensed overview of these intricate regulations, remember to consult with a professional tax advisor for personalized guidance tailored to your unique circumstances. We’re excited about the possibilities that lie ahead and look forward to helping you make the most of your R&D Tax Credits. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or if you’d like to embark on this journey with us.


In conclusion, don’t underestimate the power of the R&D Tax Credit Carryforward Period; it might just be the financial strategy that propels your business to new heights.


Need help with proactive tax strategies? Schedule a complimentary consultation and let us find out how much the IRS owes you.


We also specialize in Research & Development Tax Credits. The average rebate check is over $24,000. Curious if your business qualifies. Schedule a consultation right here.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Request a Portfolio Review