So you’ve received a notification that you will be meeting with the CRA for a First-Time Claimant Advisory Service (FTCAS) review. Should you be worried? How should you prepare?
First things first, there is no need to be worried about receiving a FTCAS notice after your SR&ED claim has been submitted.
What is an FTCAS Review?
Introduced at the beginning of 2014, FTCAS reviews are a complimentary service that the CRA is providing for first-time SR&ED claimants. They are meant to be educational and conversational so that every new claimant has a better understanding of what the CRA looks for in a SR&ED claim. More specifically, the CRA states that a SR&ED reviewer will come to your office and provide advice on:
- how to identify potential eligible work in the context of your business;
- how to identify allowable expenditures;
- the types of documentation and other evidence that could support a claim; and
- how to complete and file future SR&ED claims.
Before we go any further, we should remind you that FTCAS meetings are not to be confused with CRA Reviews. CRA Reviews are much more elaborate as they determine whether to approve or deny the details of your SR&ED claim. There are three different types of reviews: desktop; financial only; and financial and technical. For more info about what to expect during CRA Reviews, check out this blog post.
What Should You Expect?
Based on FTCAS meetings we’ve attended with our clients, here’s what you can expect before, during and after the meeting.
Before the meeting: The CRA will coordinate a time for the SR&ED Reviewer to visit your office and meet with your team and/or SR&ED advisor. Be sure to allocate 4 hours (at most) for the meeting.
During the meeting: The meeting can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. Your SR&ED Reviewer may be a recently employed junior employee or could be an advanced SR&ED Reviewer who’ve been with the CRA for over 10 years. Either way, they typically cover four main areas:
- Review what the SR&ED program is
- Review the technical requirements for SR&ED and the extent of eligible work
- Review the financials for your SR&ED claim
- Review your SR&ED claim from a technical perspective
Be sure to answer the Reviewer’s questions as directly as possible; You don’t need to dive into the technology or process in elaborate detail if they don’t ask for that information. If they do need more info, they will be sure to ask.
After the meeting: After the meeting, your Reviewer will put a report together with written recommendations on what to improve for next claim. After you receive the report, you will receive your official Notice of Assessment (NOA) for your SR&ED claim.
Bonus: click here to download this 20-page SR&ED Guide to learn everything you need to know to prepare a successful claim.
How Should You Prepare?
- Review the hypothesis and the technical challenges with your team
- Review what was known and what was unknown when your team began the project? This includes tools, methodologies, etc.
- Discuss the submitted claim with your SR&ED advisor. (They can attend the meeting as an extra resource)
Hope this blog post has made you feel better about your upcoming FTCAS review. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call at 1 (800) 290.5672 or email at email@example.com.