In April 2015, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) unveiled changes to its program service standards regarding the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Program (SR&ED). These service standards are in place to ensure that CRA employees can administer the SR&ED tax credit in a “timely, consistent, and predictable manner, while encouraging research and development (R&D) performers to prepare their claims in compliance with tax laws, policies, and procedures”1

SR&ED Service Standards: Processing Times and CRA Success Rates

Different types of claims have varying levels of complexity, and as such do not have consistent estimated processing times. The service standards for processing various types of claims are as follows:

  • refundable claims – 120 calendar days from receipt of a complete claim
  • non-refundable claims – 365 calendar days from receipt of a complete claim
  • claimant-requested adjustments to refundable claims – 240 calendar days from receipt of a complete claim
  • claimant-requested adjustments to non-refundable claims – 365 calendar days from receipt of a complete claim2

The chart below indicates the average processing times and success rates of various SR&ED claims. As is shown in the “Success Rate” column, the CRA is meeting its service standards over 90% of the time, therefore satisfying its commitment to process at least 90% of claims within the appropriate length of time.

This information spans April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015:

Type of Claim CRA Success Rate Average Days (within CRA ‘s control) Average Days (outside CRA ‘s control) Total Average Time (days)*
Refundable claims 120 Days 95% 44 30 74
Refundable claimant-adjusted claims 240 Days 93% 117 63 179
Non-Refundable claims 365 Days 96% 102 74 176
Non-Refundable claimant-adjusted claims 365 Days 95% 160 99 259
All claims 95% 72 47 119

3

Please note that circumstances viewed “outside CRA’s control” can include but are not limited to:

  • Filing an incomplete claim
  • Filing an SR&ED claim without filing the associated income tax return
  • Not filing a claim at the appropriate tax centre or filing a claim at a tax services office
  • Being unable to respond to CRA‘s requests for information in a timely manner
  • Postponement or inability to schedule meetings with the CRA
  • Being unable to respond in a timely manner to a proposal letter sent by the CRA
  • Reviews of prior year SR&ED claims impacting the review of the current year claim
  • Modification to a claim during the course of a review
  • Requests by claimants that the review of their claim be delayed4

This article is based on CRA program service standards available at the date of publication. Please consult the CRA website for the most recent versions of these service standards.

Know what service standards to expect from the CRA when your claim is being processed.

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Show 4 footnotes

  1. (2015 April). SR&ED Program Service Standards. Retrieved June 10, 2015, from http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/txcrdt/sred-rsde/srvc_stds-eng.html?utm_source=sred&utm_medium=eml
  2. (2015 April). SR&ED Program Service Standards. Retrieved June 10, 2015, from http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/txcrdt/sred-rsde/srvc_stds-eng.html?utm_source=sred&utm_medium=eml
  3. (2015 April). SR&ED Program Service Standards. Retrieved  June 10, 2015, from http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/txcrdt/sred-rsde/srvc_stds-eng.html?utm_source=sred&utm_medium=eml
  4. (2015 April). SR&ED Program Service Standards. Retrieved  June 10, 2015, from http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/txcrdt/sred-rsde/srvc_stds-eng.html?utm_source=sred&utm_medium=eml

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