On May 14 over 180 SR&ED stakeholders participated in the 2020 SREDStakeholder webcast. A variety of topics were covered including SR&ED Medical issues, SR&ED statistics and success stories, impacts of COVID-19, CATA 2020 SR&ED initiative, recent legal rulings, and new tax court procedures. It was enlightening to hear varying perspectives on SR&ED issues that impact stakeholders.
SR&ED Medical Issues
The 2020 SREDStakeholder webcast looked at the September 2019 CRA release of a paper “SR&ED claims made by physicians and Medical Professional Corporations – Information for claimants“. The presenter discussed how the medical profession’s use of SR&ED credits has changed throughout the years and potential impacts this paper may bring. The presenter discussed how an individual physician, as well as, a Medical Professional Corporation (MPC) could utilize SR&ED investment tax credits.
Statistics and Trends
Additionally, the CATA 2020 SR&ED initiative was presented. CATA’s proposed Resilience & Rebound (R&R) Emergency Relief fund would help tech companies impacted by the COVID-19 closures. For more information please visit their website.
Next, current SR&ED statistics and success stories were discussed. Trends for 2007-2020 were analyzed. It was noted that the numbers for 2019-2020 were artificially low due to COVID-19 and the Tax Centre not creating new cases for the last two weeks of March 2020. Claim intake actually increased over the previous year (which is not shown on the chart due to COVID-19). Look for further analysis by SR&ED Education and Resources in the coming months.
The unprecedented impacts of COVID-19 were discussed by presenters and moderators. The CRA is doing everything possible to ensure claimants receive the tax credits to which they are entitled. At the moment, no new reviews or audits will be started and existing reviews/audits will be processed as quickly as possible so that claimants receive their tax credits. It is important to note that while all claims will be processed in a timely manner with minimal burden to the claimant; all claims may be subject to review/audit at a future date. Refundable claims are currently being prioritized. We suggest that all supporting documentation is saved even after your claim is processed and accepted to ensure that you are prepared in case of an audit/review. The CEWS program was also discussed, please see our post for further information on this program and how it may affect your SR&ED claim.
Recent Legal Rulings
Legal rulings from the second half of 2019 and the first few months of 2020 were presented. Both winning and losing cases were presented in order to gain valuable information from what companies are doing correctly and what lessons can be learned for future claimants.
SR&ED Tax Cases 2020
Cases that were examined include Clevor Technologies, Kam Press Metal, CRL Engineering, Exxon, CO2 Solution Technologies, and Dean’s Knight Income.
The most notable legal ruling discussed was Beton Mobile where the claimant disputed rulings on 14 projects and won six. There were key takeaways from the Beton Mobile case: verbal testimony can be a vital factor and sway one’s case positively or negatively, both were seen in this case; quantifiable measurements can be critical to a systematic investigation; trial testimony should NOT contradict T661; keeping contemporaneous documentation can help support your claim.
Beton Mobile – What if?
Additionally, a “What if?” scenario was presented to see if Beton Mobile had conducted their project differently if the ruling may have been changed.
New Tax Court Procedures
Finally, new tax court procedures were discussed including “Hot Tubbing” and Preliminary Ruling.
Practice Note 22 Hot Tubbing
“Hot Tubbing” is essentially an expert panel for the judge. If the judge determines the process is necessary, they will then follow procedures leading to questioning the panel.
Practice Note 23 Preliminary Ruling
The Preliminary Ruling procedure is a pilot project which was set to operate in Vancouver and Toronto for one year starting January 1, 2020 (there is no update on how the COVID-19 shutdowns have impacted the project). This procedure can be used if the trial is expected to last more than two days and the preliminary ruling is expected to last no more than two days.
This was an informative conference presented by a dynamic group of presenters. The topics covered were applicable to today’s SR&ED issues. If you missed the live 2020 SREDStakeholder webcast, you can watch the replay or download the slides. Stay tuned for information next spring on the 2021 conference.