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Last week, news broke that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) had released some new Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) services. One of these was the First-Time Claimant Advisory Service (FTCAS). What is this program and how does it help taxpayers? We’ve reviewed the FTCAS and answered your questions below.
What is the SR&ED First-Time Claimant Advisory Service?
The CRA website describes the FTCAS as “a free in-person service that provides first-time SR&ED claimants with an opportunity to meet with local CRA SR&ED staff, at their place of business, to gain a better understanding of the SR&ED Program.”
The page says the CRA will advise claimants on the following topics:
- How to identify potential eligible work in the context of their business;
- How to identify allowable expenditures;
- The types of documentation and other evidence that could support a claim; and
- How to complete and file their future SR&ED claims.
The interesting thing to note is that the FTCAS isn’t necessarily a program you choose to be involved in—the CRA selects first-time claimants for the service. Not only that, but if selected, the service is mandatory. If your company isn’t chosen, you can request the FTCAS.
How does the FTCAS benefit SR&ED claimants?
The value add provided by the FTCAS for SR&ED claimants is education. First-time claimants often aren’t familiar with the finer details of SR&ED; this service allows the CRA to teach taxpayers how SR&ED works so as to streamline future claims.
The CRA website says that during their visit, a reviewer will do the following:
- Conduct an educational session tailored to your business, which will give you information about the SR&ED Program; and
- Discuss your current project(s) and SR&ED work to better understand your business and the type of work and expenditures claimed.
The CRA will then provide participants with a report outlining their recommendations. They won’t, however, definitively comment on the eligibility of each project, as this isn’t considered an official review or audit.
For more information, visit the CRA website.