Time tracking for R&D tax credit: A comprehensive guide

Time tracking for R&D Tax Credit
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In the world of research and development, innovation is the lifeblood of progress. Not only does it drive technological advancements, but it can also be a lucrative endeavor. If your company invests in R&D activities, you might be eligible for the Research and Development Tax Credit – a substantial financial incentive provided by the government.

However, to claim this credit, accurate time tracking is crucial. In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through the step-by-step process of time tracking for R&D Tax Credit and show you how time tracking apps can make the process more efficient and rewarding.

What is R&D tax credit?

The federal research and development (R&D) tax credit allows companies to directly lower their tax liability by an equivalent amount for specific domestic expenditures. These eligible expenses typically encompass activities related to the creation, enhancement, or innovation of products, processes, methods, formulas, or software.

What does R&D tax credit do?

Before diving into the details, it’s essential to understand the significance of time tracking for the R&D Tax Credit. This tax credit is designed to reward companies for investing in innovation and research.

It offers a significant financial benefit, allowing businesses to offset their research and development costs against their tax liability. To benefit from this, you need to document the time your employees spend on qualified R&D activities.

What can be claimed in R&D tax credit?

To qualify for the R&D credit, activities must pass the IRS’s four-part test:

1. Permitted purpose: The activity must aim to develop or enhance the functionality, quality, reliability, or performance of a business component like a product, process, software, technique, formula, or invention.

2. Technological in nature: The development of the business component must be grounded in a hard science such as engineering, physics, chemistry, or life, biological, or computer sciences.

3. Elimination of uncertainty: The organization must have faced technological uncertainty from the start when creating the business component.

4. Process of experimentation: The company must have explored multiple design options or used a systematic trial and error approach to overcome technological uncertainties.

How do I claim R&D tax credit?

R&D tax credit time tracking

Identify eligible activities

The first step in time tracking for R&D Tax Credit is to identify the eligible activities. These can include creating new products, processes, or software, improving existing technologies, or conducting experiments. Keep in mind that not all R&D activities may qualify, so it’s crucial to consult with a tax expert to determine eligibility.

To avail the R&D Credit, businesses must complete IRS Form 6765, credit for increasing research activities. During this process, they must pinpoint qualifying expenses and furnish sufficient documentation demonstrating how these expenditures align with the criteria outlined in Internal Revenue Code Section 41. Adequate proof can include financial records, business documentation, oral testimony, and technical documents.

Define the time period

Determine the time period for which you want to claim the R&D Tax Credit. You can typically claim it for the current year or retroactively for prior years, depending on your circumstances.

Employee time tracking

The heart of the process lies in tracking the time your employees spend on eligible R&D activities. It’s imperative to be meticulous, ensuring that you accurately record hours worked on these activities.

Document and categorize

Create a system for documenting and categorizing R&D activities. Each activity should be well-documented, describing the project, its objectives, and the employees involved.

Use time tracking apps

Time tracking apps like Tackle, that can significantly simplify this process. These apps allow you to effortlessly record time spent on various activities, categorize them, and generate comprehensive reports.

Try the Tackle app. It’s free, forever!

Compile the necessary documentation

Gather all documentation, including timesheets, project reports, and any other supporting evidence that can validate your R&D activities.

Seek professional assistance

To ensure you’re in compliance with tax laws and regulations, it’s highly recommended to consult with a tax expert or accountant who specializes in R&D Tax Credits.

File Your Claim

Finally, prepare and file your R&D Tax Credit claim with the appropriate tax authorities. Be prepared to provide all the documentation and records you’ve collected during the process.

How time tracking apps help

Time tracking apps can be a game-changer in simplifying the time tracking process for the R&D Tax Credit.

What is R&D tax credit

Here’s how they can make your life easier:

  • Efficiency: Time tracking apps streamline the process, making it easy for your employees to record their R&D activities accurately.
  • Accuracy: These apps eliminate the risk of manual errors in time tracking, ensuring that your records are precise and reliable.
  • Categorization: You can categorize different R&D activities, making it easier to demonstrate eligibility for the tax credit.
  • Reports and analytics: Time tracking apps generate detailed reports and analytics that can be invaluable when filing your claim. They provide clear evidence of the time invested in R&D.
  • Documentation storage: Many time tracking apps offer cloud storage, allowing you to keep all your records in one secure location for easy access.
  • Integration: Some apps, like the Tackle, offer integration with accounting software, simplifying the tax credit claim process.

Time tracking apps for R&D tax credit

When it comes to optimizing your R&D tax credit process, there is a range of valuable time tracking apps available, each with its unique advantages.

Among these, the Tackle shines brightly. Its user-friendly interface and robust features allow you to effortlessly monitor your time, categorize activities, and generate detailed reports for your R&D tax claim. Furthermore, its seamless integration with accounting software further enhances efficiency.

In the realm of time tracking applications, Tackle is not alone. Other noteworthy options like ChronoTrack and TimeWise also offer excellent features for precise time management. These apps collectively empower you to navigate the complexities of the R&D Tax Credit process more effectively.


To sum up, the pursuit of the R&D Tax Credit is a gratifying endeavor, necessitating diligent time management. Employing time tracking applications can streamline the process, ensuring it becomes more efficient and precise.

It’s worth noting that documenting your R&D endeavors isn’t solely a financial requirement; it’s also a means of acknowledging and celebrating the innovative efforts propelling your business forward.

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Maximize potential: Tackle’s automated time tracking & insights

Maximize potential: Tackle’s automated time tracking & insights