It only takes 120 calendar days to process your refundable SR&ED claim from the day you submit. (And, in 2013 the CRA service standards met this timeframe with 96% of their processed claims.)
While we don’t actually have control over how long it takes the CRA to process your SR&ED claim, we do, however, have some advice that will make the process smoother on your end so that your claim can be submitted and processed as quickly as possible.
Here are 5 tips that you can implement to speed up the processing of your SR&ED claim:
1. Educate yourself and your technical team about the SR&ED tax credit program
Outside of meeting with your SR&ED claim preparer, attend webinars and seminars to learn all about the program. When you are fully aware of what the program entails and what is eligible, you’ll be able to prepare yourself and your team for the process, making it smoother for all involved.
2. Keep track of documentation
It is a whole lot easier to be proactive with your potential SR&ED projects than reactive. While it isn’t difficult to look back on what you’ve done and do your best to gather documentation, it will save you a lot of time and effort if you implement a documentation process from the project get-go.
Remember, documentation should be:
Contemporaneous – generated at the time the SR&ED work is done
Dated – to prove that the work occurred in the fiscal year
Highlighting technological issues/challenges – should support the technical reports that will be submitted with the claim
3. Delegate one team member to be your internal ‘SR&ED Champion’
While not necessary, it usually helps to designate an ‘internal SR&ED champion.’ This person would be your company’s main point of contact and will oversee the entire SR&ED claim process from within. This person is usually the technical lead. They are instrumental in lining up the one-on-one interviews with all of your technical staff who worked on the research or experimental development work.
Bonus: click here to download this 20-page SR&ED Guide to learn everything you need to know to prepare a successful claim.
4. Schedule time in advance to review technical reports with your SR&ED claim preparer
No one likes feeling rushed to meet a deadline. It’s really important to plan out the process from the beginning so that you do not feel rushed before a deadline. The last thing you want to be doing is racing through a technical report that could potentially put $$$ back in your bank account!
A professional SR&ED claim preparer will allow ample time to review your claim with you before submitting and well before your deadline. It’s best to respect their timelines and stay on track.
5. Review SR&ED criteria and develop a strategy BEFORE you start development
This tip might seem odd. However, it makes the whole process smooth when you are aware of the requirements — documentation, qualifying work, salaries vs. contractors — ahead of jumping in and doing the work. Your SR&ED claim preparer can walk you through what they will be looking for and can actually provide advice so that you can maximize your R&D efforts.
Instead of dealing with your SR&ED claim as a reactive thing from the past, let’s take the next step and be proactive. The process will go a whole lot smoother and you’ll spend less time hunting and gathering documents and more time focusing on your core business!