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 gave an overview of what claimants should expect during an on-site SR&ED (Scientific Research and Experimental Development) claim review visit from an RTA, as outlined in the Claim Review Manual (CRM) for Research and Technology Advisors. This week, we’re looking at special cases that may impact the review process, as well as at a sample RTA review plan that might be used during a review.
We’ll be highlighting important sections from Appendix 8: Special Situations and Alternative Review Approaches and Appendix 5: RTA Review Plans (Samples).
For ease of reference, we have formatted the CRM into a single page, available here: Claim Review Manual for RTAs.
Special Situations and Alternative SR&ED Review Approaches
Not all SR&ED claims and/or claimants are created equal. Furthermore, a company or claimant’s status at the time of claim submission may have changed significantly by the time the claim is reviewed. While the CRM makes it clear that the onus is still on the claimant to provide the required documentation, evidence, and access to personnel, the CRM puts forward guidelines to be followed by RTAs.
The Claim Review Manual for RTAs provides the following ten examples for courses of action to take in the event of an unusual claim review:
- Files with Previous or Outstanding Notices of Objection
- Bankruptcies, Company Shut Down, or Facility Sold
- Out-of-Country Equipment, Records or Personnel
- No Existing Physical Facility
- Remote Claimant Location
- Separation of Head Office from R&D Site
- Borrowing Claimant’s Records
- Claimant’s Documentation Supplied as Electronic Media
- Claims Involving Classified Information
- Second Technical Review by a New RTA1
This section of the CRM focuses predominantly on claims with completed or active Notices of Objection (NOO). Claimants wishing to learn more about how their NOO may be handled by an RTA should read this section in full, but here are the “basic principles” offered up in the CRM:
- It is recommended that the current year review not be delayed as a result of the objection, unless requested by the claimant;
- Objections may result in additional information becoming available. This information should be considered during the “regular” review; and
- Any deficiencies with respect to defensibility or due process noted during past Appeals reviews should be corrected by the RTA.2 [emphasis added]
SR&ED Claim RTA Review Plan
Regardless of the complexity of the review at hand, the Claim Review Manual provides ideas for a sample RTA review plan to help guide the review process. These review plans are a helpful tool for claimants wishing to be prepared and informed about what information their RTA will be looking for. In “special situation” reviews like the examples provided above, RTAs may turn to the Review Plan for a Large Claim, which outlines the following steps:
- Identification section
- Technical review issues
- Financial review issues
- Identify personnel
- Consultation needed
- Outline major steps
- Approvals / signatures and dates
- Work schedule (Gantt chart; optional)3
Under Step 6 (Outline major steps), RTAs are advised to follow the steps below. Please note that if a claimant feels the RTA has not provided this information, the claimant should cite this section of the CRM and request that the RTA provide the following:
Outline the major steps to resolve the issues (both technical and financial issues: __________
Initial meeting with claimant: __________ Estimated date: __________
Details of other meetings required (such as when, where, CRA and claimant personnel needed, estimated time required, issues to discuss).
Meeting 1: __________
Meeting 2: __________
Final Thoughts On Expectations from Claimants and RTAs
As we will continue to assert throughout this “Claim Review Manual Highlights” series, claimants should familiarize themselves with the entirety of the CRM for RTAs. Knowing how RTAs are expected to handle unique or complex reviews — as well as having a sample RTA review plan to reference during the review — can make a world of difference in reducing uncertainty for claimants.
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.
Want to further prepare yourself ahead of your “special situation” SR&ED review?
- Canada Revenue Agency. (2015, April 20). Appendix A.6: Special situations. In Claim Review Manual for Research and Technology Advisors (Chapter 9.0 Appendices). Retrieved April 15, 2015, from http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/txcrdt/sred-rsde/pblctns/clm-rvw-mnl-ppndcs-eng.html ↩
- CRA. (2015, April 20). Appendix A.6: Special situations. In Claim Review Manual for Research and Technology Advisors (Chapter 9.0 Appendices). Retrieved April 15, 2015, from http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/txcrdt/sred-rsde/pblctns/clm-rvw-mnl-ppndcs-eng.html ↩
- (2014). Appendix 5.2: Review Plan for a Large Claim: Sample. In Claim Review Manual for Research and Technology Advisors – ARCHIVED (Appendix 5). Retrieved April 15, 2015, from https://www.sreducation.ca/claim-review-manual-research-technology-advisors/ ↩