SR&ED (Scientific Research & Experimental Development) is a government program that rewards companies that perform R&D in Canada. The program makes Canada a more economically competitive and technologically advanced nation and it has been in existence since the 80’s. The Canadian incentive program is one of the most generous R&D programs in the world. This is not a grant – you are entitled to this money under the Income Tax Act.
Canadian manufacturers rely on many tried & true techniques and methods in order to produce high-quality goods. But more and more, Canadian manufacturers are saying that they need to innovate in order to compete with China. Canadian manufacturers pay some of the highest labour rates in the world, so innovative technology is the only way to ensure that product prices remain low enough so that the public will purchase the products.
When making a claim in a manufacturing category, the claimant must understand the concept of “standard practice”. The actual term has been removed from the CRA glossary, as it led to much confusion, but the concept is still alive and well. Instead of “standard practice,” a CRA reviewer may refer to the “application of known methods.”
It might seem to the claimant that CRA uses this term with such broad application that it is virtually impossible to demonstrate any advancement in technology. In order to pursue a successful SR&ED claim, one must be familiar with a variety of tax court cases, such as the Bees Service Case where the Tax Court of Canada over-turned the CRA denial.
CRA typically prefers to break projects into smaller pieces, and analyzes each of the activities on its own. The Tax Court of Canada has rejected this approach on many occasions.
You will need to ensure that your project is described at the highest level, with a proper description of fundamental technological problems, as opposed to technical problems.
Many Manufacturers qualify for the SR&ED Program
If you answer yes to any of the following questions you could be sitting on an untapped refund.
- Have you encountered technological obstacles or uncertainties in the course of your work
- Have you designed or built any prototypes or custom machinery?
- Have you designed or developed any technology that is state-of-the-art?
- Have you encountered challenges when improving products or technical processes?
- Have you developed any products that were patented?
- Have you solved technological problems by going beyond available practices, methods, or routine engineering?