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Molding Opportunities: R&D Tax Credits in the Plastic Industry

The plastic industry, a dynamic and evolving sector, is constantly pushing the boundaries of material science, manufacturing processes and product design. A significant driver of this innovation is the research and development (R&D) tax credit, a federal and state incentive designed to stimulate technical design and product development.

production of plastic cans

The Role of R&D in the Plastic Industry

R&D plays a pivotal role in the plastic industry, driving advancements in material science, manufacturing processes and product design. According to data from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, companies manufacturing plastics and rubber products spent approximately $310 million on R&D capital expenditures in 2020. This investment fuels the development of new products, processes and inventions, keeping the U.S. at the forefront of innovation.

A Hidden but Immediate Source of Cash

The IRS has a broad definition of what constitutes R&D, and many activities in the plastic industry qualify for the tax credit. These include:

  • Designing and developing new or improved molds
  • Developing new or improved injection systems
  • Designing, constructing and testing of prototype molds
  • Designing new compounds or formulations
  • Developing new applications for existing compounds
  • Developing new testing methods and protocols
  • Implementing automation processes or robotics
  • Innovative product development using computer-aided design tools
  • Designing innovative manufacturing equipment
  • Integrating new materials to improve product performance and manufacturing processes
  • Designing and evaluating process alternatives
  • Streamlining manufacturing processes through automation
  • Increasing manufacturing capabilities and production capacities

Innovation in Plastic Manufacturing

Innovation has become a priority to plastic manufacturing agents. Major fields of innovative efforts include 3D printing, automation of manufacturing, innovative applications, bioplastics and recycling. Companies investing in any of these areas may be entitled to significant R&D tax incentives.

Getting an R&D Tax Credit Analysis to see if you qualify is the first step!

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