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SR&ED Program Updates: July-September 2020

SR&ED Program Updates: January-March 2020
SR&ED Program Updates: July-September 2020

This post outlines SR&ED program updates from July-September 2020, including administrative, policy, tax law, and court cases. COVID-19  continued to dominate the country for the quarter, but slowly things began to reopen. We have identified some key trends to watch in the SR&ED environment.  


The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the entire world.  The third quarter of 2020 saw the Tax Court of Canada (TCC) and Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) begin to open up and return to a semblance of normalcy with new COVID-19 restrictions in place.

SR&ED Education and Resources Articles

SR&ED Education and Resources spent the July-September 2020 summer months discussing the effects of COVID-19 on SR&ED, drilling down into the forms to explain the various key lines in our blog posts, in the interest of further de-demystifying the application process for researchers and claimants. 

T661 Guidance

Following along the success of our Q2 blogs, we continued to focus on questions that our clients frequently ask during the course of the SR&ED claim process. These delve into topics of interest and serve to demystify the SR&ED application process for prospective claimants.

Stories of Survival from Canada’s Tech Innovators – CATA Series

In Q3, we highlighted a new series posted on the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA) page titled “Stories of Survival from Canada’s Tech Innovators”.

    Administrative, Policy, and Legislative

    The third quarter of 2020 brought some SR&ED news and information updates from CRA. While the program and policies remained constant, the CRA released information about the TCC reopening, as well as, an update stating that SR&ED filing deadlines have been extended in light of COVID-19.

    From July-September 2020 the CRA posted two updates, one on August 13, 2020, and one on September 3, 2020, on their “What’s New – SR&ED Program” website.

    On September 3, 2020, the CRA posted Extended SR&ED reporting deadlines explaining how reporting deadlines have been extended six months (in some circumstances) due to COVID-19.  No deadlines have been extended past December 31, 2020.

    Judicial Proceedings

    In terms of judicial proceedings, Q3 was quiet with only four SR&ED court rulings released or on the docket due to the Tax Court of Canada’s closure due to COVID-19 for part of the quarter. Due to time constraints, only one of these rulings has been summarized, the rest will be posted in Q4.

    National R&D Inc. v. The Queen (2020)

    The Appellant filed an appeal of the assessment for their 2011 SR&ED ITCs.  The CRA denied their project titled Project Tracking System, stating that it did not meet the criteria of SR&ED.  The CRA denied ITCs for this project in the amount of $23,810. The judge used criteria from C W Agencies Inc. v. Canada (2001) to determine if the Appellant’s work was SR&ED eligible.  The judge ruled that technological uncertainties and hypotheses were present. The judge also ruled that the scientific method was not followed which prevented the Appellant from meeting the additional criteria of SR&ED eligible work.  The appeal was dismissed.

    For more details and analysis, you can view our complete analysis of National R&D Inc. v. The Queen (2020).  We also have a new blog post on the implications of this ruling and companies who utilize the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA)  in Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) and SR&ED.

    Summary of SR&ED Updates

    SR&ED updates from July-September 2020 were busy as the country dealt with the pandemic. As in the prior three months, we continued our educational mandate, writing fifteen more informative blog posts.  Check back for more updates as 2020 comes to a close.

    Share your thoughts on the recent SR&ED program updates
    ** Note: In 2020, the CRA updated the term “Ombudsman” to “Ombudsperson”. ** 

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