According to the 2019 Artificial Intelligence (AI) Index Report, research into AI is experiencing all-around growth and is poised for logarithmic growth in the coming years. With AI and machine learning (ML) increasingly becoming part of every company’s future-proofing strategy, companies are investing heavily into their development and implementation. These investments meet the definition of Qualified Research Activities (QRAs) and can be claimed under the R&D tax credit.
To understand how AI ties into R&D tax credits, let’s take a closer look at what aspects of AI are considered QRAs and why they are so prevalent in the tech industry today.
How Well Does AI Fit Under QRAs?
Artificial Intelligence development is the essence of QRA, and like most software innovation, almost always meets the Four-Part Innovation Test requirements:
1. Permitted Purpose
Businesses involved in developing a product or process for AI software can claim R&D credits for the development expenses. For example, a company creating an AI customer support software to improve the end-user experience can claim the development as a QRA.
2. Technological Uncertainty
Any work done to resolve technological uncertainty will likely be classified as a QRA. AI research readily qualifies for the R&D credit as developers and engineers encounter technological uncertainty regarding the optimal design or development methodology due to AI’s relative infancy in the marketplace.
3. Process of Experimentation
Software developers in AI R&D are constantly creating new code or refining existing code. This requires planning, reviews of various coding methodologies, trial and error, and testing to evaluate whether the design meets the functional/performance intent. As they explore the boundaries of natural language processing and deep learning, developers naturally engage in the process of experimentation.
4. Technological in Nature
The steps taken to achieve the desired software, product, or process must fundamentally rely on principles of the physical or biological sciences, engineering, or computer science. Computer science is the root of AI development and passes the process of experimentation test needed to qualify the development expenses.
It’s no wonder that AI is becoming increasingly integral to today’s top-performing companies. To put it simply, AI is the key to streamlined workflows, innovation, and increased bottom lines. Investments in AI technology can make a significant impact on your business, and the costs of that investment could be offset through the R&D tax credit. If your company is problem-solving with AI technology, you should get credit for the work that you're doing. Learn more about our team and how we can help here.