Form 6765: Your Key to Claiming R&D Credits

R&D Tax Credit


small business

Riz Malik
March 18, 2024

The Research and Development (R&D) tax credit is a valuable incentive for businesses of all sizes that engage in innovative activities. R&D activities encompass a wide range of pursuits, from developing new products and processes to improving existing technologies. However, the process of claiming the R&D tax credit can sometimes feel overwhelming. This is where Form 6765 comes into play.

What is Form 6765?

Form 6765, officially known as the "Credit for Increasing Research Activities," is the primary IRS form used to calculate and claim the federal R&D tax credit. It's designed to guide you through the process of substantiating your qualified research expenses (QREs) and accurately determining your credit amount.

Who Needs to File Form 6765?

  • Partnerships and S Corporations: These entities must file Form 6765 to claim the R&D credit. The credit then passes through to the partners or shareholders to be claimed on their individual tax returns.
  • Other Business Entities (C Corporations, LLCs): These entities aren't technically required to file Form 6765. They can directly claim the credit on Form 3800 (General Business Credit). However, it's often beneficial to prepare Form 6765 even in this scenario to ensure proper R&D credit calculation and documentation.

Key Sections of Form 6765

Form 6765 is divided into four main sections:

  • Section A: Regular Research Credit - This calculates the traditional R&D credit based on qualified research expenses and your company's base amount.
  • Section B: Alternative Simplified Credit (ASC) - This is a simplified method for calculating the R&D credit based on prior-year research expenses.
  • Section C: Additional Forms and Schedules - This identifies other forms that may need to be filed based on your business structure and specific activities.
  • Section D: Payroll Tax Credit Election - Qualified small businesses can elect to apply a portion of their R&D credit against payroll taxes.

Form 6765 is typically filed with your annual tax return. Remember that the R&D credit calculation can be complex, and it's wise to start the process early.

The Benefits of Using Form 6765

While preparing Form 6765 might seem daunting, it provides numerous advantages:

  • Simplified Calculation: The form provides a structured way to calculate the R&D credit, whether you opt for the regular credit or the ASC.
  • Substantiation of Claims: Form 6765 encourages you to assemble the necessary documentation and proof of your R&D activities to support your claims.
  • Reduced Risk: Careful preparation of Form 6765 can reduce the risk of an IRS audit or challenge down the line.

Unlock the R&D Tax Credit with Confidence

Understanding Form 6765 is essential when claiming the valuable R&D tax credit. While the process can be complex, working with a tax professional or using R&D tax credit software like can help you navigate through accurately maximizing your credit.

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