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Zombie-Proof House + SR&ED = Success

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SR&ED claim eligible zombie proof architecture

Zombie-proof house for apocalypse survival – It’s SR&ED Eligible!
Source: The First Zombie-Proof House
via All That is Interesting

In this second instalment of the SR&ED Eligible Zombie Apocalypse Prevention Series, we’re thinking less about zombie offence (as in our previous Zombie Apocalypse Prevention Series – Circular Sawblade Launcher post) and more about zombie defence. Namely, we’re looking at the SR&ED possibilities of the “Safe House”—the first zombie-proof abode designed by KWK Promes.

Read on to find out how building a zombie-proof house can qualify for the SR&ED tax incentive program, and how a recent court ruling can help frame R&D activities.

Think Like a SR&ED-er

In order to look at this problem from an R&D perspective, formulate a hypothesis about the advances you want to achieve.  It is important to include a verifiable metric that would gauge success for your project.  In this case, it might be as simple as asking whether or not a structure could withstand  sustained waves of zombie attacks.

With this general framework in mind, begin refining, focusing on elements that create obstacles (i.e. having a house that can completely seal itself from undead intruders at the touch of a button). The way that you overcome these uncertainties (2’ thick metal/concrete walls in this case) is the actual advancement.

Keep it SR&ED Legal

Pre-apocalyptic case law can provide useful guidance when it comes to describing these uncertainties. Consider the 2011 Tax Court of Canada case of Jentel Manufacturing Ltd. v. The Queen. In this case, the claimant had performed work that involved modifying plastic (presumably non-zombie-resistant) storage bins. The SR&ED claim was denied.

Why? Because the claimant’s work had involved using existing manufacturing process and existing materials in an attempt to improve its existing product. This involved routine engineering and standard procedures, meaning this work was not SR&ED eligible. As the Court stated (at para. 16), “There was no evidence before me that any of this work involved technological risk or uncertainty.”

Therefore, in developing your zombie-proof house, ensure that you’re clear and specific about the technological uncertainties you had to overcome—and not just the uncertainty of whether you would survive until morning.

Show the R&D Work

When describing how you tackled all of the technological uncertainties, be sure to include the work that was performed, including:

  1. Extensive research to understand a wide range of zombie behaviour using reputable sources such as The Zombie Survival Guide, World War Z, The Walking Dead, etc. Other more interactive sources could also be consulted such as Left 4 Dead or Dead Rising.  It will be extremely important to understand zombie capabilities, as this will focus the design of the house (i.e. do you need to include a helicopter landing pad for emergency pickups/drop-offs?) and allow you to determine timelines for the work.
  2. The zombies’ capabilities can then be cross-referenced to the standard (but weak) features installed by architects, including: crystal windows (good for smashing), eaves troughs (good for climbing), non-secure sewer systems (good for infecting) and others.  In order to build a fully zombie-proof house, it will be necessary to come up with solutions for all of these weak points.  Once these weaknesses have been identified, they can be worked back into your original question; i.e. will a 3mm steel grate design be sufficient for holding back the merciless undead hordes?  Or do we have to use 4mm steel, a laser grid ala Resident Evil, or some other exotic technique that would be developed?
  3. Finally, in order to be SR&ED eligible, consider how you will properly test the house once your design is complete.  Obviously, you don’t want to discover a critical flaw in the design at an inopportune moment, but zombie outbreaks are notoriously difficult to time and control effectively.  This testing might include extensive computer simulations (Left 4 Dead has extensive modding tools, but the government might not like this approach), hiring a small army of local hoodlums to try to break into your house (with the stipulation that no weapons are allowed), or even obtaining a contract with the local biomedical research giant (who are totally not evil).

Most important of all, throughout your zombie-proofing project, remember to carefully document everything that happens.  Failing to do so might just result in your mortal peril, or worse—an audit.

Keep checking back with the “Fun” section of for future installments of the SR&ED Eligible Zombie Apocalypse Prevention Series.

Wondering if your unconventional project is SR&ED eligible?

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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.

5 thoughts on “Zombie-Proof House + SR&ED = Success

  • This article is fantastic!

    If fear of mortal peril by zombies isn’t good motivation to document research better, I don’t know what is.

  • Great to see that the under-appreciated peril of the zombie apocalypse is getting the attention it deserves. I’m curious about the type of reference materials we can use when researching technological uncertainties. You say to use “reputable sources.” Can you be more specific? Does this typically mean peer-reviewed journals?

    • A secondary goal of this blog is make people see that they have to be prepared for any supernatural development. I’m glad to see some of our readers taking this problem seriously!

      To answer your second question, yes peer-reviewed journals are an excellent resource to use when preparing a SRED claim. They are definitely considered a trusted source by the CRA. However, since mainstream publications tend to frown upon zombie research, peer reviewed articles often don’t exist for your area of interest. In that case, you can provide documentation such as emails/reports from local experts who have first-hand experience or even the results of a ‘google’ search are allowed in some cases. It is important to establish that, to the best of your ability, you could not solve the problem with the tech level available to you.

  • Okay, your “Failing to do so might just result in your mortal peril, or worse—an audit” comment literally made me laugh out loud.

    I am horrible at documenting my work and processes but this is definitely a great reason to do so. I would imagine many people would have a tough time documenting their technological uncertainties since these “uncertainties” may show a sign of weakness and for the most part, humans want to look strong and in control….especially to the Government.

    Thanks for giving me the inspiration to not only have clear documentation but also to suck up my pride and outline where there is potential for failure.

    • Indeed, that’s an excellent point Nathan! One of the most common errors that first time claimants make is that they try to turn the technical narrative into a marketing report. They overstate their advances, minimize the problems they had an gloss over the months and months of painstaking experimental work that their tech guys performed in the basement.

      If you do this, it is likely that you will get rejected or at least adjusted. One of the key requirements of the program is that you have to show that the difficulties you encountered were real and almost unsurmountable in scope. If the problems were small and trivial, why did you bother embarking on the project at all? Make the reviewer understand that it was reasonable that of the 5 different approaches you thought of to solve the problem, only one worked and only in certain situations. This is the time where you can talk all you want about the aspects of the project that didn’t quite work out the way you wanted.


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