information sources SRED reviews

Taking a closer look at where RTAs pull key information from during SRED reviews.

Our current four part series brings you highlights from the Claim Review Manual (CRM) for Research and Technology Advisors (RTAs). RTAs at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) use the CRM when conducting SR&ED claim reviews. We’ll be showcasing key excerpts from the CRM, including dispute resolution procedures, what to expect from on-site visits, and more.

Last week, we looked at RTA protocols for handling special situations in SR&ED (Scientific Research and Experimental Development) claim reviews, as outlined in the Claim Review Manual (CRM) for Research and Technology AdvisorsIn this final instalment of the “CRM Highlights” series, we’re taking a closer look at precisely where RTAs pull information from when conducting claim reviews.

We’ll be highlighting important sections from Appendix 7: Information Sources and Their Importance.

For ease of reference, we have formatted the CRM into a single page, available here: Claim Review Manual for RTAs.

SR&ED Reviews: Information Sources and Their Importance

Aside from the extensive and detailed documentation that claimants submit along with their SR&ED claim, RTAs can also access and pull information from a number of other sources when conducting a claim review. These sources can include internal CRA information systems, documents from a claimant’s previous claim, and more.

Below, we’ve highlighted a few key information sources that RTAs may reference1

Source of InformationSignificance / value / comments
Risk Grid and claimant history from the TCThis summarizes the claimant’s SR&ED history (for example, review results, claim growth, services) and basic financial information. This may be viewed via the SR&ED Risk management Tool.
Prior years TF98 filesThey summarize the SR&ED claimant’s history in detail and include descriptions of prior year work (important for multi-year projects), the results of prior year reviews, communication and correspondence with the claimant or SR&ED services received (such as Preclaim Project Review (PCPR), Account Executive (AE)). Note that older TF98 files may be in archives.

In particular, they provide details of any issues or past problems and how they were resolved, areas that need to be followed up, and requests made (especially for improved documentation) to the claimant.

Prior review findings will help to develop the Review Plan. Information from prior reviews is retained either electronically or in the hard copy files. Of particular value are recommendations to the claimant (if any) requiring improved documentation.
Form T661 InformationThis financial information provides cost breakdowns per project, and is important in determining the focus and scope of the review. The nature of the expenditures claimed is important for identifying potential joint financial / technical issues.
Publicly
available
information
The claimant's web site may provide general information about the claimant, such as information on products, projects and R&D, their status, and future plans. Note: Some websites may be blocked by the CRA. RTAs may gain access to blocked sites that are necessary to do their job by applying online at this website: Enhanced Internet Access (for CRA internal use only).

For larger companies, annual reports and business news may provide useful information on the structure of the claimant and their major business projects.

Textbooks, handbooks, manuals, trade news and magazines may be helpful in establishing current practice or the technology base.

As indicated in the CRM, relevant information is printed and stored in the TF98 file.
Court RecordsThe Ministry of Justice website may provide details of court cases involving the claimant or similar issues.
Prior year FR reportsThese can provide insight into the resolution of issues identified in prior years, particularly concerning financial / technical issues. The FR involved may also be able to provide additional insights.

Final Thoughts On Expectations from Claimants and RTAs

As we have emphasized in each instalment of the “CRM Highlights” series, claimants should familiarize themselves with the entirety of the CRM for RTAs. Claimants should be aware of what information RTAs are allowed to access and utilize during a claim review, as well as what to expect throughout the review process as a whole.

This article is based on archived CRA policy documents available at the date of publication. Please consult the CRA website for the most recent versions of these documents.

Don’t be caught off-guard during a SR&ED claim review.

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Show 1 footnote

  1. (2014). Information Sources and Their Importance. In Claim Review Manual for Research and Technology Advisors – ARCHIVED (Appendix 7). Retrieved May 2, 2015, from https://www.sreducation.ca/claim-review-manual-research-technology-advisors/

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