In the dynamic world of manufacturing, success isn’t just about producing quality goods, it is also about navigating the complex tax landscape. For California-based manufacturers, understanding and leveraging available tax incentives and credits can significantly impact the bottom line. As the heartbeat of innovation and industry, the California offers a range of opportunities for businesses to optimize their tax positions and promote growth.


R&D Tax Credits

  The research and development tax credit is a federal incentive that allows companies to reduce income tax liability in the current year dollar for dollar when they are preforming activities related to the development, design, or improvement of things like products, software, process, etc. Many businesses, especially smaller ones, tend to dismiss the federal research and development(R&D) tax credit as either out of reach or too complicated. Consequently, they lose out on potentially significant tax savings every year. When approached with a consistent, long-term strategy, the R&D tax credit can offset costs of a broad range of business processes and bolster a company’s financial health.  California and many other states have a corresponding credit for increasing research as well.  

To qualify for R&D tax credits, manufacturers should document and demonstrate their R&D activities. This can include expenses related to employee wages, supplies, and contract research costs. By leveraging R&D tax credits, manufacturing businesses can offset a portion of their tax liability, freeing up capital for further investment in innovation. If you want to know if you qualify you should check with us or your CPA.


Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit, commonly known as the WOTC is a federal tax credit. Its aim is to encourage employers to hire individuals from certain groups that face barriers to employment. Some of the people this covers are veterans, ex-felons, and individuals receiving temporary assistance (TANF). For manufacturing businesses in California, the WOTC can provide financial incentives for hiring employees from these target groups. The credit is generally calculated based on a percentage of the qualified employee’s first-year wages, up to a maximum amount, which varies depending on the target group.

To qualify for the WOTC, employers need to meet certain criteria, including obtaining certification from the state workforce agency that the hired individual is a member of a target group. The certification process involves submitting required documentation within specific timeframes. It’s important to note that WOTC is a federal program, and employers need to comply with both federal and state guidelines. California may have additional requirements or incentives for businesses, so it’s advisable to check with the California Employment Development Department (EDD) or consult with a tax professional to ensure accurate and up-to-date information.

To Learn more about the WOTC read the IRS publication here:


Section 179

Section 179 allows you to depreciate certain assets fully in the first year that you purchase them. These deductions must be for business related assets such as vehicles, equipment, and software. Section 179 cannot help you create a loss so you must have the required net income to allow for the deduction. If you purchase a piece of qualifying equipment, you may be able to deduct the full purchase price from the taxable income of the business. It’s an incentive created by the U.S. government to encourage businesses to buy equipment and invest in themselves.

Manufacturers often rely on state-of-the-art equipment to streamline operations and enhance productivity. The Section 179 Deduction is a tax incentive that allows businesses to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment in the year it is placed into service, rather than depreciating the cost over time. For manufacturing businesses, this means potential tax savings on essential machinery, computers, and software. The deduction limit and eligible property can vary, so it’s crucial for manufacturers to stay informed about the latest updates and consult with tax professionals to maximize the benefits.

For an example of what this looks like, see the table at the bottom of our post about section 179 here:


In conclusion, success in the ever-evolving landscape of manufacturing in California goes beyond producing quality goods—it involves adeptly navigating the intricate tax environment. Recognizing and capitalizing on available tax incentives, such as the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credits, Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), and Section 179 Deduction, can profoundly impact the financial health of businesses. The Golden State, renowned for its innovation and industry, offers a spectrum of opportunities for manufacturers to optimize their tax positions, stimulate growth, and invest in cutting-edge technologies. By understanding and strategically utilizing these tax incentives, manufacturing businesses can not only offset costs but also position themselves for sustained success and contribute to the vibrant economic landscape of California.