Read on for examples of commercial printing activities, improvements and innovations eligible for R&D tax credits.

Among the industries that are evolving quickly and flourishing in technology, commercial printing takes no exception.  Keeping up with the technological demands of software and machinery in this competitive and fragmented market is requiring businesses small and large to operate on the cusp of innovation to stay profitable.

It is likely that a reduction in size and acquisition costs would result in a more viable option for smaller commercial and in-plant printers.

The adoption spike of digital printing is undeniable, and will continue to grow. Xerox predicts that a reduction in size and acquisition costs will result in more viable equipment options for smaller commercial and in-plant printers.

For a time, companies that resisted the digital shift, preferring to operate old-school offset printing operations, could get by just fine. But as the cost of digital color printing falls below the traditional offset lithography, and upmarket workflow tools are eliminating waste, the landscape of print has changed drastically, and integrating modern equipment and services isn’t optional.

According to print and digital publishing goliath Xerox, to succeed in this emerging era of rapid growth, small and mid-sized print operations need new product options to help them to not just compete, but to give them an edge.

The cost of keeping up with on-demand/web-to-print features, hybrid color processes, high-end equipment and the software costs that come with them can take a big bite out of your bottom line, but luckily, there are opportunities to offset those investments.

The R&D Tax Credit can provide an immediate source of funding as well as a significant reduction to current and future years’ federal and state tax liabilities. This benefit is designed to reward companies that are rising to the technical challenges of their fields, and provides business owners with the financial resources to reinvest in equipment and expansion.

Examples of commercial printing activities, improvements and innovations eligible for R&D tax incentives include:

  • Developing new printing processes to increase throughput, quality and efficiency
  • Upgrading to new or improved machinery for in-house, offset and digital production operations
  • Calibrating and maintaining legacy printers and other mature machinery
  • Perfecting automation and reducing manual intervention to improve quality assurance and waste reduction
  • Developing custom software to provide web-to-print solutions, approval processes, and many more expanded digital offerings
  • Exercising environmentally conscious practices with process-free plates, eco-solvent ink, workflow software and more
  • Exploring new approaches to bindery, packaging and other lithographic solutions
  • Designing innovative custom materials, like unique envelopes, booklets, mailers and business cards
  • Conducting color trials with different ink processes
  • Experimenting with specialty printing textures and techniques, like foil stamping, scented ink, scratch-off, embossing, inserts, die cutting and more prototype

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commercial printing case study 3This company sought to design and develop a long-run, full-color, custom-sized tabloid spread. The unusual dimensions created uncertainty with regard to the design and execution required to satisfy the specifications. The production team developed a unique solution after testing numerous proofs with regard to sheet trim, fold and collation before the optimal layout and press process was created. They then simulated each proof through the press until determining a favorable strategy for the offset printing project.


commercial printing case study 2In an effort to increase packaging efficiency, this company sought to streamline the shrink-wrapping process to curtail damage to products during shipping. After making efforts to utilize existing in-house equipment, it was decided that new automation tools would be needed to increase throughput and eliminate error. The company invested in and implemented an automatic stretch wrapping system that instantly delivered a time-saving benefit and reduced the risk of damage and loss during shipping.


commercial printing case study 1Determined to optimize its vibrant four-color process printing and continuous-tone imaging, this large-scale printer invested in customized software upgrades. The improvements to the color separation software also increased the speed and efficiency of the printing process. However, during testing, it was discovered that these updates resulted in the freshly printed sheets requiring a prolonged drying interval. This was resolved by introducing a starch-like material during the air knife drying phase.


alliantgroup works with businesses and their CPA firms to identify powerful, government-sponsored, cash-generating credits, incentives, and deductions, including a particularly attractive benefit to the commercial printing industry: the Research & Development Tax Credit.

In order to better serve the publishing community, alliantgroup employs industry specialists who focus on the qualification and quantification of R&D tax benefits for companies operating in the commercial printing industry.

alliantgroup’s experts have educational backgrounds and practical experience within the disciplines of  mechanical engineering, automation, software and many more. This group has qualified and quantified credits for firms ranging from small mom-and-pop shops to large, multi-national, publicly traded companies. alliantgroup has helped U.S. businesses claim over $4 billion. 

For more information on alliantgroup’s tax consulting services, please visit our website at www.alliantgroup.com.