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The SR&ED Technical Review: A Guide for Claimants – Released July 25, 2011

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The updated Claimant Guide will help you navigate a SR&ED review.

The updated Claimant Guide will help you navigate
an SR&ED review.

The SR&ED Technical Review: A Guide for Claimants 1 outlines the expected procedures to be followed in the event that an SR&ED claim is selected for review by the CRA. The Guide covers everything from anticipated processing times, to what to expect from a field visit from your local Research and Technology Advisor (RTA). The Guide is an essential read if you are preparing for an audit for the first time without the help of an experienced SR&ED consultant. 

The guide has a partner; the CRA’s internal Claim Review Manual.2 This guide follows the same format as the Guide for Claimants, though from the reviewer’s perspective. Both are based on the same overall policy of the CRA, and there are no noticeable policy deviations between the two.

The current version of the Guide replaced the guide created in January 2000, the Guide to Conducting a Scientific Research and Experimental Development Review Part 1: The Technical Review, in June 2010. Despite the fact that the changes made to the Guide didn’t represent a sweeping overhaul of the program, the updated version had an effect on the review process for claimants.

3 Key Impacts on the SR&ED Program

  1. Greater Emphasis on Co-operation

    The review process has always been a two-way street, with the claimant and reviewer giving and receiving information simultaneously. However, by solidifying this understanding in writing, the Guide ensures that this process remains consistent. The official review process should involve sharing facts and information, as opposed to an actual audit.

  2. Timelines for Claimants

    The Guide lays out how much time the claimant has to respond to each request for information made by the CRA agent. For example, the client must respond within 30 days to the initial request for information after contact has been made. It is vitally important to note that failure to comply with this mandate could forfeit your claim. Unfortunately, there aren’t any strict timelines for the RTA’s schedule.

  3. Combined Financial/Technical Review

    Although both a financial reviewer and a technical reviewer are assigned to the file, the CRA has structured the program so that claimants aren’t required to attend twice as many meetings with each reviewer. Everything is (theoretically) collected and analyzed simultaneously, which should speed up the review process.


Take the time to familiarize yourself with the Guide for Claimants, as well as the CRA’s overall SR&ED claim review process. Ensuring that you understand the most current version of documents governing the SR&ED program is an excellent way to minimize your risk of audit and reduce the amount of time you need to spend liaising with the CRA–time that ultimately takes away from your ability to innovate.


This article is presented only for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. You should retain legal counsel if you require legal advice regarding your individual situation.


 Wondering what the guide means for your SR&ED project? Been reviewed by the CRA and want to share your experience?

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Show 2 footnotes

  1. Government of Cananda. (April 29, 2015.) The SR&ED Technical Review: A Guide for Claimants. (Accessed: August 18, 2017.) Retrieved from:
  2. Government of Canada. (April 20, 2017.) Claim Review Manual for Research and Technology Advisors. (Accessed: August 18, 2017.) Retrieved from:

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