Tax credit

Ciaran Burke

Page written by AI. Reviewed by Ciaran Burke on February 15, 2024.


In a business context, a tax credit refers to a financial incentive provided by the government to encourage certain activities or behaviours that are considered beneficial to the economy, the environment, or specific industries.

What is tax credit?

Business tax credits work similarly to individual tax credits but are designed to stimulate business investment, research and development, environmental sustainability, and other activities that contribute to economic growth.

Various types of business tax credits exist, addressing different aspects of business activities. Common types include:

  1. Research and development tax credit: Encourages businesses to invest in research and development activities.
  2. Investment tax credit: Provides incentives for businesses to invest in qualifying assets, such as machinery, equipment, or renewable energy systems.
  3. Work opportunity tax credit: Offers incentives to hire individuals from specific target groups facing barriers to employment.
  4. Renewable energy tax credits: Promote the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, and biomass.

Each business tax credit has specific qualification criteria that businesses must meet to be eligible. These criteria may include the type of activity, the industry, the amount of investment, or other factors.

Business tax credits are typically calculated as a percentage of eligible expenses or investments. The specific calculation method varies depending on the type of credit.

Businesses engaged in international activities may benefit from tax credits related to foreign taxes paid or incentives for specific international investments.

Claiming business tax credits often requires thorough record keeping and documentation to substantiate eligibility and support credit calculations. Businesses should maintain accurate records of qualifying activities and expenses.

Example of tax credit

Let’s say Company ABC operates a manufacturing plant and invests in renewable energy equipment.

As part of government efforts to promote renewable energy adoption, the local government offers a tax credit for businesses that invest in renewable energy equipment. The tax credit allows businesses to offset a portion of their tax liability based on the value of the investment.

For example, Company ABC invests £100,000 in solar panels for its manufacturing plant. The government offers a tax credit of 30% for renewable energy investments.

Tax credit calculation:

Tax credit = Investment amount × Tax credit rate = £100,000 × 0.30 = £30,000

In this example, Company ABC is eligible for a tax credit of £30,000. This tax credit reduces the company’s tax liability by £30,000, providing a direct financial benefit and helping to offset the initial investment in renewable energy equipment.

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