Taxpayer’s Ombudsman – Observation Paper on the SR&ED Program (Pt. 1: Overview) (2012)
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** Note: In 2020, the CRA updated the term “Ombudsman” to “Ombudsperson”. **
The Taxpayer’s Ombudsman’s Observation Paper, Issues of service and fairness within the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program.
This post provides a brief overview of what the Observation Paper covers. You can read the Observation Paper on the SR&ED Program on the Government of Canada website.1
The Taxpayer’s Ombudsman’s Observation Paper
The Ombudsman’s investigation findings highlighted SR&ED claimants’ need to truly understand the nature of the SR&ED tax incentive program. While it may seem like an obvious statement to make, the paper found that business owners and claimants would feel a greater sense of confidence in the program’s administration if they knew more about how the program was administrated. The paper suggests that this could be facilitated through more effective CRA-claimant communication about CRA policies/procedures and the claiming process.
Other issues covered in the Taxpayer’s Ombudsman Observation Paper include:
- Significance of SR&ED to stakeholders
- Complaints from SR&ED claimants
- An explanation of the need for investigation
- Explanations of eligibility requirements
- A comparison of potential regional inconsistencies in SR&ED administration, and more.
What We Think About the Paper
Although the report is welcome, it may not carry the impact it potentially could have, given the lag time between its initial commission and release.
We will be examining the Observation Paper and determining whether or not we believe the report has reached any useful conclusions or if, like the 2011 Innovation Canada (Jenkin’s Report), it will be yet another report that offers little toward actually improving the administration and transparency of the SR&ED program.
What are your thoughts on the Taxpayer’s Ombudsman’s Observation Paper?
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- Government of Canada. (December, 2011.) Issues of service and fairness within the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program. (Accessed: August 21, 2017.) Retrieved from: https://www.canada.ca/en/taxpayers-ombudsman/programs/reports-publications/observation-papers/issues-service-fairness-within-scientific-research-experimental-development-incentive-program.html. ↩