Recently, Tri-Merit published the results of our R&D Tax Credit survey. As is often the case, the results were full of information about who is offering R&D tax credit services – and who is not. The results also lead us to some surprising conclusions. 

We are convinced about how much value the R&D tax credit can add to any business engaged in qualifying research activity. 

But one of the most surprising findings to some of us was a big reason that more CPAs do not offer this service to their clients. And we are convinced that this roadblock does not need to be an issue. Most firms can even use it to their advantage. 

The Biggest Single Roadblock 

Over 50% of our survey respondents noted that a lack of technical expertise holds them back from offering R&D tax credit services to their clients

In some ways, this is understandable. Technical expertise is critical for many businesses, and specialty tax topics are no different. 

There was a time when most CPAs and tax managers covered most topics. 

But in the age of the internet, things have changed. Becoming an expert in all things tax is no longer necessary to serve your clients well. The future of accounting also includes collaboration. 

How Partnering with Technical Experts Makes Offering Specialty Services Easier 

Part of the concern over expanded service offerings (like R&D tax credits) lies in the belief that all expertise needs to be hired or developed in-house. 

But that is not true. This type of thinking can hold your firm back and does a disservice to your clients. 

Giving your clients the best service now involves typically focusing on your core competencies and partnering out the rest. 

Respondents to our survey cited the following as significant roadblocks to offering specialty services: 

  • Missing technical expertise in-house  
  • Not knowing how to price this type of service  
  • Concern about audit protection and risks  
  • Not knowing how to identify the good candidates who qualify 

Of course, as your clients’ CPA, you should be able to converse on the topics. However, you do not need to be an expert. 

Instead, partnering with an external expert can allow your firm to provide specialty services without the hassle and overhead burden of doing everything yourself. An expert partner you can trust can shoulder a lot of that burden. 

Technical Expertise and Pricing 

Specialty tax topics can be quite complex and demand much attention. The R&D tax credit is one of them. But the complexity and effort required are hard to judge upfront for the novice, which makes pricing especially hard. Many factors slightly augment the process, including the company’s industry attempting to claim the credit

On the other hand, someone well-versed in the topic will know how to assess both the level of opportunity for the client and the amount of effort necessary. This will help you set the best price for the service. 

Identifying Potential Clients 

R&D tax credits are available to a wide variety of business sectors and industries. The only restriction is that clients are engaged in qualifying activities.  

The credit can be used by companies involved in manufacturing, software, and even agriculture.  

Reducing Audit Risks and Enforcing Audit Protection

While it is impossible to eliminate audit risk, ensuring that all documentation is prepared correctly in advance can significantly reduce the risk of a negative audit outcome. 

A partner specializing in R&D credits will know precisely how to prepare the documentation. And, of course, will support and protect in the event of an audit. 

What to Look for in a Technical Expert 

Deciding to partner with an expert to expand your offerings can be a big decision. While it can open many opportunities, it can also feel risky. 

You need someone who knows what they are doing and always treats your clients well. The partner should be a trusted expert in the field. They develop this trust by communicating openly and transparently with you and your clients and offering straightforward pricing. 

At Tri-Merit, we believe that offering R&D tax credit services and qualified activities is an excellent opportunity for CPAs to expand their portfolio and help their clients save money on taxes. 

Tri-Merit is that expert who can help you and your clients with a straightforward experience, no matter the topic. Schedule a discovery call today to see how Tri-Merit’s specialty tax services can help your clients.