Congress extends R&D, wind tax credits in 'fiscal cliff' deal

But tech industry insiders note that deal doesn't make R&D tax credit permanent, long a tech desire

The so-called "fiscal cliff" deal in Congress includes an extension of the R&D tax credit, but, once again, sidestepped any move to make it permanent.

This lack of permanency has kept the research and development tax credit in a constant state of flux, though Congress has consistently extended it since 1981.

The latest tax credit expired on Dec. 31, 2011. But Congress this week made it retroactive for 2012 and extended it for 2013.

"The fact that the R&D credit was a cornerstone of the fiscal cliff package bodes well for the industry," said Kevin Richards, senior vice president of federal government affairs at TechAmerica, an industry group. "But we're going to continue to underscore the need for permanency because we think there is a direct correlation between U.S. competitiveness and job creation."

TechAmerica says extending the wind energy tax credit is also important to the technology industry.

Google, for instance, has announced plans to buy wind power to help supply a data center it runs in Oklahoma.

The wind power tax credit had expired and the alternative energy industry was pessimistic about its prospects.

The action taken by Congress extends the tax credit for all wind projects that start construction in 2013. The American Wind Energy Association said the credit will save up to 37,000 jobs.

About 75,000 are currently employed in the industry.

In other actions important to tech, as well as other industries, was an extension of 50% bonus depreciation for capital expenditures through 2013.

"How the extension of the bonus depreciation will influence capital spending in the coming year is anyone's guess," said John Longwell, vice president of research at Computer Economics.

He said capital spending "mostly depends on whether the economy continues to improve or falls back into recession."

Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov, or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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