To promote collaboration between firms and non-corporate entities, Congress needs to broaden the R&D credit for collaborative energy-related research to any area of collaborative research and expand the rate from 20 to 40 percent.
There are several reasons to treat collaborative research more generously. First, participation in research consortia has a positive impact on firms’ own R&D expenditures and research productivity. Second, most collaborative research is more basic and exploratory than research typically conducted by a single company. Moreover, the research results are often shared, often through scientific publications. As a result, firms are less able to capture the benefits of collaborative re search, leading them to under invest in such research relative to socially optimal levels. Other countries, including Canada, Denmark, Hungary, Japan, France, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom, provide firms more generous tax incentives for collaborative R&D. The U.S. provides a 20 percent total credit for collaborative R&D but it only applies to energy research.