October 15, 2014

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The Colorado Chamber’s Colorado Manufacturing Initiative

How are you making Colorado a better place for manufacturers?

“It doesn’t matter if you vote.” At least that’s what a political science professor once told me. On the surface, this claim runs counter to what we’ve been told our entire lives. But his reasoning made sense.

Of all of the ways to influence the political system, one vote out of millions is pretty insignificant. To really make a difference, you need to influence others. Groups of voters are more impactful. That’s why we hold caucuses and primaries, it’s why politicians raise money and recruit volunteers, and it’s why you as an employer should share the importance of voting with your employees.

The Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC) commissioned a study in 2012 that found employees more likely to vote and in a better informed way on issues and candidates when their employer provided election information. The Colorado Chamber serves as the state affiliate for BIPAC. BIPAC, a nonpartisan “organization dedicated to increasing the political effectiveness of America’s business community” reported:

– 35% of employees rank their employer as the most credible source of information about political issues and elections affecting their job, company, and industry, ranking higher than any other source of information;

– 11% of employees go to their employer with questions about how the elections will affect their ability to start their own business with 80% of those employees even asking for advice on how to make their concept a reality – visit gembah.com to find out more.

– 76% of employees surveyed found the information their employer provided useful and 26% said the information made them more likely to vote; and

– 25% of employees said they want more information from their employer and 51% of employees found a weekly or monthly summary most useful.

Your role as an employer is more important than ever as this year marks the first time that all Colorado elections will be held by mail-in ballot. The ballots began arriving in mailboxes yesterday and Election Day is less than three weeks away.

There is some general concern about employers telling their employees how to vote. That’s why groups like BIPAC encourage you to instead communicate information about the voting process and about the potential impacts that issues or candidates could have on your business and industry.

And the best part is that you don’t need to do all of the work yourself. You can find candidate comparisons for the US Senate race or pre-drafted messages about the voting process atwww.coloradoprosperityproject.org. You can find The Colorado Chamber’s endorsements for state legislators here.

You can also see the gubernatorial candidates debate at The Colorado Chamber’s annual meeting on October 23.

So what are you waiting for? Your employees want and need to hear from you!

How are you influencing our political system to make Colorado a better place for manufacturers? Share your story with Patrick Pratt at the Colorado Manufacturing Initiative via email at[email protected] or by phone at 303-866-9657.

SOCOM Expo & Conference Recap

The Southern Colorado Manufacturing (SOCOM) Expo & Conference on September 30 and October 1, 2014 was a huge success. The two day event drew 64 exhibitors, 600 attendees, and more than 1,700 area 6-12 grade students.

The Colorado Chamber was proud to participate in this event as an exhibitor, keynote sponsor, and presenter.

Big thanks to Jim Peterson (shown above), Vice President of Marketing & Corporate Affairs for the Ball Corporation. Jim provided the morning keynote speech on September 30 to an audience that included Congressman Doug Lamborn (R – CO).

For more information, please visitwww.socomexpo.com.

R&E Tax Credit: Don’t Assume It’s Not for You

Ashley Thompson and Herb Hanselmann, BKD CPAs & Advisors

Manufacturers across the country are making the same big mistake: They assume they don’t qualify for one of the most lucrative federal income tax credits, and those who do apply often underestimate their tax credit.

In fact, the current competitive nature of the manufacturing industry creates a constant need for companies to develop new, improved products and faster, cheaper production techniques. Companies may want to look towards sophisticated solutions like those offered here which can optimize operations in manufacturing and machining centers – https://www.weltmarktfuehrerindex.de/corp_profile/?pid=612. Such improvements should certainly be considered by those operating within the industry. Enhancements like these are exactly what the research and experimentation (R&E) tax credit strives to foster. Unfortunately, most companies lack a solid understanding of the credit, how to apply it and/or what expenses and activities qualify-but who can blame them? While the R&E credit is three decades old, governing rules and regulations have changed many times. Several court cases and other IRS guidance have shaped and reshaped the credit into what it is today. Without some knowledge of its history, it is virtually impossible to apply correctly.

The majority of manufacturers BKD has contacted about the R&E tax credit simply assume they don’t qualify, which potentially leaves a lot of money on the table. Some assumptions can be costly:

“Credits Are Intended for High-Tech Research Firms Where Most People Work in White Lab Coats” – This is partially correct. Companies with white lab coats hanging in the break room typically do qualify for the credit. However, manufacturers with only an occasional need for a slide rule or pocket protector also can participate.

“Product Improvements Don’t Qualify” -In addition to making products look better, design engineers generally can improve the way a product works; however, improvements in appearance or style are specifically excluded from R&E credit.

Allowable time is that spent improving a product’s functionality, usability, reliability, performance and/or quality, including brainstorming and developing new ideas and hypotheses.

“Manufacturing Process Improvements Don’t Qualify” – This is a common misconception among manufacturers. However, process-improvement activities and the associated costs are allowable and can greatly contribute to qualified research expenses. Such improvements include time and resources allocated for experimental design improvements to manufacturing equipment and changes to existing equipment to increase efficiency and throughput or to decrease scrap.

“Unsuccessful Projects Don’t Count” – Wrong. The credit doesn’t require you to have offsetting income; it is designed to encourage and foster experimentation and research. Successful and unsuccessful efforts count equally for R&E tax credits purposes.

“Only Really Big Improvements or New Products Qualify” – Not true. The tax credit doesn’t define thresholds for project size or scope. In fact, many small improvements to either your processes or product(s) can have a significant effect when added together.

“Research Scientists’ & Engineers’ Wages Are the Only Qualifying Salary Expenses” – The tax code does not limit salary expenses to specific members of your team; it includes everyone who contributes to the project, e.g., team members from quality control, production, tooling, maintenance, management and administration.

The cost of employee time is the largest contributor to most credit amounts.

How Do Your People Spend Their Time?

Answering this question is one of the best ways to determine if your company qualifies for the R&E tax credit.

Check all that apply from this list of possible answers:

  • Design & test new products
  • Use CAD to draw, design & model new products or improvements
  • Perform design simulations & analyses, e.g., FEA, CFD, FMEA
  • Design & test new processes
  • Improve product designs
  • Improve machine speeds
  • Improve process yields
  • Improve production quality
  • Improve jig & fixture designs
  • Modify equipment designs
  • Develop new equipment
  • Develop innovative tooling designs
  • Perform other related activities

Investigate any items you checked; this will help you determine if your company qualifies for R&E tax credits you may have overlooked.

The federal credit generally is 4.5 percent to 6.5 percent of a company’s qualified research expenses. In addition, you may qualify for state tax credits for the same expenses.

R&E Credit Expires

The R&E credit expired December 31, 2013. This means qualified research expenditures incurred after that date are not eligible for the credit; however, qualified expenditures incurred on or before December 31 remain eligible. Historically, the credit has been extended, and legislative efforts are underway to extend it once again. BKD is closely monitoring these efforts. Though we cannot affirmatively state that the credit will be extended, it has substantial bipartisan support.

The R&E credit is complex, with a history of changes. BKD’s experienced research credit professionals work extensively with the credit’s laws and rulings to help you analyze your situation. They can help you identify, quantify and document qualified credits for a refund application.

Ashley Thompson is a director and Herb Hanselmann is a senior managing consultant at BKD CPAs & Advisors. They can be reached at[email protected] or [email protected].

In This Issue
How are you making Colorado a better place for manufacturers?
SOCOM Expo & Conference Recap
R&E Tax Credit: Don’t Assume It’s Not for You
Upcoming CMI Events
MLG Small Group Meeting & Tour – Springs Fabrication, October 24
MLG Small Group Meeting & Tour – HunterDouglas, December 17
Other Events of Interest
The Colorado Chamber Labor & Employment Council: Anti-Discrimination Seminar – October 21 at 10:00 a.m.
The Colorado Chamber 49th Annual Meeting featuring Colorado Gubernatorial Debate – October 23 at 11:00 a.m.
The Colorado Chamber Federal Affairs Council with Special Guest Russell Slifer, US Patent & Trade Office Director – November 12 at 12:00, noon
The Colorado Chamber Chair’s Roundtable: Post-Election Analysis – November 19 at 11:30 a.m.
Thanks to our sponsors!
Member Spotlight
CIVEO, formerly PTI Group, is a global workforce accommodation specialist that helps people maintain healthy, productive and connected lives while living and working away from home. They build temporary housing for various industries including oil and gas. The company employs 237 people at their Johnstown plant which has been open for just over 2 years.
NAM News:
Manufacturing Legislative Excellence Award

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) recently awarded their Manufacturing Legislative Excellence Award to members of Congress whose votes aligned with positions taken by NAM.

Colorado Delegation’s Performance:

70-100%Voting alignment, received the NAM “Award for Legislating Excellence”

Rep. Mike Coffman (100%)

Rep. Cory Gardner (97%)

Rep. Doug Lamborn (97%)

Rep. Scott Tipton (97%)

50 -69%, Letter notified that they’re pro-business but just missed receiving the NAM award


30-49% , Were told the importance of manufacturing for our economy & jobs recovery

*Sen. Michael Bennet (44%)

*Sen. Mark Udall (44%)

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (30%)

0-29% – Thanked for votes & encouraged to go to NAM website to learn more about the issues

Rep. Jared Polis (19%)

Rep. Diana DeGette (15%)

Learn more here.

Manufacturing Makes a Difference: The Colorado Chamber Guest Column Published in Littleton Independent

Colorado is a great place for business generally, but also for manufacturing. You may not realize it, but manufacturing matters.

Ray Ochoa initially came to the state from south Texas to work the farms. But in 1981, he started work as an assemblyman at Harsh International, a Colorado company based in Eaton…Continue Reading

Governor Hickenlooper Declares September 28-October 3, 2014 Manufacturing Week

Citing the importance of manufacturing to Colorado’s economy and the challenges the sector faces to recruit workers, Colorado’s Governor, John Hickenlooper, has declared September 28-October 3, 2014 Manufacturing Week in Colorado. His proclamation coincides with NationalManufacturing Day on October 3, 2014.View the proclamation here.

Member Resources
Members of the Colorado Manufacturing Initiative receive a 20% discount on manufacturing databases from MNI when they order online.Click here to find out more!
Patrick Pratt
Program Manager
Colorado Manufacturing Initiative
Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry
1600 Broadway, Suite 1000
Denver, Colorado 80202
[email protected]