Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Another Extension

The Research and Experimentation Tax Credit in the US gives a tax break to companies that invest in research and development, and while lawmakers typically agree innovation should be encouraged, Joshua Krisch writes at Scientific American's Observations blog that it's a temporary credit.

It, he notes, has been around since the Reagan administration and has been renewed 15 times, but when it is not, Krisch says companies take a hit.

"This place is dysfunctional," Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) said last week. "Businesses and individuals need to know what the tax is going to be in the beginning of the year so that they can plan and take advantage of incentives rather than waiting until the last two weeks of the year when the Congress may or may not act."

Recently, Krisch adds, it had looked like the credit might become permanent — President Obama mentioned it in his State of the Union address last January and the House of Representatives passed a bill that would've extended the credit permanently. But then an argument over how to pay for the bill's estimated $150 billion cost derailed it.

"This is disappointing news for science and scientific research. It's also a little bit frustrating," Krisch says. "Here we have a case where everyone — Republicans, Democrats, Congressmen and the White House all claimed to want the same thing. In the end, nobody got what they wanted."

The credit has been given a one-year extension, he adds.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.