(k) Research and development credit.
For tax years ending after July 1, 1990 and prior to December 31, 2003, and beginning again for tax years ending on or after December 31, 2004, a taxpayer shall be allowed a credit against the tax imposed by subsections (a) and (b) of this Section for increasing research activities in this State. The credit allowed against the tax imposed by subsections (a) and (b) shall be equal to 6 1/2% of the qualifying expenditures for increasing research activities in this State. For partners, shareholders of subchapter S corporations, and owners of limited liability companies, if the liability company is treated as a partnership for purposes of federal and State income taxation, there shall be allowed a credit under this subsection to be determined in accordance with the determination of income and distributive share of income under Sections 702 and 704 and subchapter S of the Internal Revenue Code.
For purposes of this subsection, “qualifying expenditures” means the qualifying expenditures as defined for the federal credit for increasing research activities which would be allowable under Section 41 of the Internal Revenue Code and which are conducted in this State, “qualifying expenditures for increasing research activities in this State” means the excess of qualifying expenditures for the taxable year in which incurred over qualifying expenditures for the base period, “qualifying expenditures for the base period” means the average of the qualifying expenditures for each year in the base period, and “base period” means the 3 taxable years immediately preceding the taxable year for which the determination is being made.
Any credit in excess of the tax liability for the taxable year may be carried forward. A taxpayer may elect to have the unused credit shown on its final completed return carried over as a credit against the tax liability for the following 5 taxable years or until it has been fully used, whichever occurs first; provided that no credit earned in a tax year ending prior to December 31, 2003 may be carried forward to any year ending on or after December 31, 2003.
If an unused credit is carried forward to a given year from 2 or more earlier years, that credit arising in the earliest year will be applied first against the tax liability for the given year. If a tax liability for the given year still remains, the credit from the next earliest year will then be applied, and so on, until all credits have been used or no tax liability for the given year remains. Any remaining unused credit or credits then will be carried forward to the next following year in which a tax liability is incurred, except that no credit can be carried forward to a year which is more than 5 years after the year in which the expense for which the credit is given was incurred.