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DOVER, Del. (AP) -- Small business owners in Delaware are eligible for an expanded tax credit with the signing of a new law by Gov. Jack Markell.

Markell on Tuesday signed legislation doubling the state research and development tax credit for smaller businesses while maintaining the annual cap of $5 million for the credit as a whole.

Currently, all businesses are entitled to a state tax credit equal to half of the corresponding federal tax credit for research and development in Delaware. Under the new law, businesses with less than $20 million average annual gross receipts for the most recent four years can get a state tax credit equal to the entire corresponding federal credit.

Markell noted that only about 2 percent of state R&D tax credits currently go to small companies and start-ups.

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