Now Available Software for easier compliance with the CRA or IRS R&D eligibility criteria
Draft Policy On The Eligibility of Work For SR&ED
Investment Tax Credits.
In the last 20 years in this practice we know
that when a policy is out for, the so called public consultations, it
means that they (Finance and CRA) have held many meetings as well as
staff training, internal manuals/memorandums and that the train has left
the station and now running at full speed/steam.
We have thoroughly reviewed the document and found it to be very comprehensive and well thought of. In our estimate it took a significant amount of efforts to compile the information and write it in a generic form. It is obvious that CRA is trying to address several contentious audit issues and have successfully expressed their interpretations in respect of the subjects they expect to be submitted and how the claims to be substantiated.
Briefly, we view in this new policy that CRA is attempting to
implement and manage a political will of the government to shift the
focus of the SR&ED project from developing new products or processes
to developing technologically advanced knowledge base to be utilized in
creating new products and processes. This is a drift from industrial
experimental development to scientific experimental development.
In scientific experimental development the work would be attempting to
address a phenomena, a discovery or correlation among many variables,
which will affect the creation of a range of similar products/processes.
Definitely, this will provide an advance or increase in the
technological knowledge base of the company. This type of work goes far
beyond the capabilities of many small businesses.
In the industrial experimental development, the work would be focused on
all technological aspects affecting the creation of a given new
product/process according to specified constraints. The constraints can
be financial or technological (e.g. minimum weight, maximum fatigue
life, at very low production costs with 0PPM, high surface finish
..etc). This will lead to the development of a particular technological
platform for the creation of the targeted product/process. This type of
work will produce the know how limited to the creation of the particular
product/process. The new policy seems to dismiss such type of work as
eligible SR&ED. It will be incumbent on the claimants to demonstrate
how the SR&ED work contributed to their technological knowledge
base. For the claimants to be able to substantiate their claims, they
must maintain good documentation management system.
For software development, the stakes are even higher. The new policy
dismisses the argument of the complexity involved in creating a new
process. In most software application developments one is attempting to
instruct a machine(computer) to perform a process with judgements that
would be carried out by humans. The construction of the complex
algorithms to achieve the required performance/security are often
experimentally developed. The most notorious logic failures, not a bug,
will be discovered much later after the alpha site testing. Most of the
technologically challenging issues will be discovered during the coding
phase and not at the design phase. It will be difficult, therefore, for
the software developer to specify the sought technological advancement
at the beginning of the project.
In summary, on the government side it would be the political will as to
what the government wants to support(the technological knowledge base or
the creation of new products/processes).
On the claimants side, it will
be up to the management of the company to assess whether it is worth
putting in the efforts to establish a culture and a system to carry out
SR&ED work and then claim it, or keep things the way they are and
fight it out with CRA?
As an essential part of our services, we custom design and implement a system that is easy to integrate with the client's existing procedures to ensure legitimate compliance with the required substantiations (in terms of documentation and project cost breakdown). We do not stop just at preparing the submission.