In the innovative world of winemaking, brewing, and distilling, creativity and experimentation are not just passions—they’re business practices. For wineries, breweries, and distilleries, the Research & Development (R&D) Tax Credit offers a unique opportunity to turn these creative efforts into valuable financial advantages.

What is the R&D Tax Credit?

The Research & Development Tax Credit, initially established to encourage innovation across industries in the U.S., provides businesses with a way to reduce their tax liability for engaging in research and development activities. It’s designed to support companies that are developing new products or processes or improving existing ones.

Eligibility in the Fermentation Industry

Many activities common in wineries, breweries, and distilleries qualify for the Research & Development tax credit. This includes:

  • Developing new or improved flavors: Experimenting with different ingredients, aging processes, or fermentation methods.
  • Enhancing production processes: Innovating to increase efficiency, reduce waste, or improve safety.
  • Experimenting with sustainable practices: Developing environmentally-friendly production methods.
  • Quality testing and analysis: Conducting rigorous quality control and consistency assessments.

The Financial Benefits

Reduced Tax Liability

The most direct benefit of the R&D tax credit is a reduction in tax liability. If your winery, brewery, or distillery engages in qualifying activities, you can claim a percentage of related expenses, such as salaries, supplies, and contract research costs, directly against your taxes owed.

Encourages Innovation

The credit incentivizes ongoing innovation, allowing you to push boundaries in flavor, efficiency, and sustainability with a safety net of knowing some of these costs can be recouped.

Competitive Advantage

In a market that values novelty and quality, the ability to innovate continuously can set your business apart. The R&D tax credit effectively subsidizes experimentation, giving you a financial edge in the market.

Claiming the Credit

Navigating the R&D tax credit can be complex, involving strict documentation and specific IRS requirements. It’s often beneficial to work with a tax professional who can help identify qualifying activities and expenses and ensure that your claim is both maximized and compliant.

Conclusion

For wineries, breweries, and distilleries, the R&D tax credit isn’t just a tax benefit; it’s a catalyst for growth and innovation. By leveraging this credit, your business can continue to experiment and evolve, while enjoying the financial rewards of your creative endeavors.

Stay tuned for more insights into how your business can benefit from various tax credits and incentives.

Cheers to innovation and growth,

The Figure Financial Team

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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs

Is the IRS cancelling the ERC program early?

The IRS released updated guidance on the Employee Retention Credit program on September 14, 2023. The news release below explains that the IRS has placed an immediate moratorium through the end of the year on the processing of new ERC claims in effort to curb fraudulent applications by bad actors. While a moratorium may sound alarming, this intentional pause is a common practice used by the IRS.

This is a developing situation, and we will continue to provide updates as new information is released. This what we know so far:

  • This news confirms that the ERC is still a valid and valuable tax incentive for qualified businesses – this is not a cancellation of the program.
  • The IRS moratorium will delay taxpayers from receiving their ERC funds, but it does not prevent taxpayers from continuing to file for the credit.
  • The IRS may ask for more information to process future ERC claims, which we are prepared to provide as it is already part of our normal substantiation process.
  • We will only release a credit for your business if we are confident you meet the IRS requirements. The positions we take are in line with the updated guidance that the IRS has provided.
  • A large portion of the businesses we evaluate for ERC do not meet IRS eligibility requirements. If we filed a credit on your behalf, it is because we are confident you qualify. You should not be concerned about the credits you have claimed. The positions we have taken continue to be in line with the updated guidance that the IRS has provided.
  • The IRS is taking steps to help taxpayers remediate any inappropriately claimed credits in good faith. The IRS encourages taxpayers to evaluate their eligibility for the credit. If you know anyone concerned with a credit they claimed individually or through a company other than ERC Pros, we can offer assistance through our ERC Substantiation Services.

On January 31, 2024, the House passed the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024, which proposed an end to the ERC program effective January 31, 2024. This is now pending approval from the Senate. Please note that we will not be processing any new ERC claims until a final vote is reached. Our team of attorneys and CPAs is closely monitoring the situation. For more information about this new legislation, read this Tax Update from our legal team on our blog.

Who can withdraw an ERC claim?

Employers for whom all of the following is true:

  • The claim was made on an amended employment return (Forms 941-X, 943-X, 944-X, CT-1X);
  • The amended employment return only added the claim for the ERC – no other adjustments were made;
  • The employer seeks to withdraw the entire amount of the ERC claim; and
  • The IRS had not paid the claim, or the check for the refund has not been cashed or deposited.
Who cannot withdraw an ERC claim?

Employers who have already cashed their refund checks or who claimed the ERC on their original employment tax return.

Why did the IRS create this withdrawal option?

The IRS created the withdrawal option to help small business owners and others who were pressured or misled by ERC marketers or promoters into filing ineligible claims.

Why is this so important?

Claims that are withdrawn will be treated as if they were never filed. The IRS will not impose penalties or interest, which can save you a lot of money.

How does an employer withdraw an ERC claim?
A: Review the instructions carefully at: Withdraw an Employee Retention Credit (ERC) claim | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov) Section A: You haven’t received a refund and haven’t been notified your claim is under audit.
  • Make a copy of the adjusted return with the claim you wish to withdraw.
  • In the left margin of the first page, write “Withdrawn.”
  • In the right margin of the first page:
  • Have an authorized person sign and date it.
  • Write their name and title next to their signature.
  • Fax the signed copy of your return using your computer or mobile device to the IRS’s ERC claim withdrawal fax line at 855-738-7609. This is your withdrawal request. Keep your copy with your tax records. **If you can’t fax your withdrawal request, you can mail it to the address in the instructions for the adjusted return that applies to your business or organization. Before doing so you should make a copy of the signed and dated first page to keep for your records. It will take longer for the IRS to receive your request if you mail it. Mail your package via certified mail to track and confirm delivery.
Section B: You haven’t received a refund and you’ve been notified your claim is under audit. If you’ve been notified that the IRS is auditing the adjusted employment tax return that includes your ERC claim, prepare your withdrawal request using the steps in Section A, but don’t submit to the withdrawal fax line or mail it using the address below. Instead:
  • If you’ve been assigned an examiner, communicate with your examiner about how to submit your withdrawal request directly to them.
  • If you haven’t been assigned an examiner, respond to your audit notice with your withdrawal request, using the instructions in the notice for responding.
Section C: You received a refund check but haven’t cashed or deposited it.
  • Prepare the claim withdrawal request using the steps in Section A, but don’t fax the request.
  • Write “Void” in the endorsement section on the back of the refund check.
  • Include a note that says, “ERC Withdrawal” and briefly explain the reason for returning the refund check.
  • Make copies for your tax records of the front and back of the voided check, the explanation notes and the signed and dated withdrawal request page.
  • Don’t staple, bend, or paper clip the voided check; include it with your claim withdrawal request and mail it to the IRS at:

Cincinnati Refund Inquiry Unit

PO Box 145500

Mail Stop 536G

Cincinnati, OH 45250

**Mail your package via certified mail to track and confirm delivery.

What happens after submitting the withdraw request?

The IRS will send you a letter telling you whether your withdrawal request was accepted or rejected. Your approved request is not effective until you have your acceptance letter from the IRS. If your withdrawal is accepted, you may need to amend your income tax returns if you already included the claim for the ERC in the filing. If you need help, seek out a trusted tax professional.

NAVIGATION

Figure Financial, Inc.

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