How To Get Your SR&ED Refund Before It’s Filed

Each year the Canadian government provides billions of dollars to businesses for developing new or improving existing technologies, products and materials under the SR&ED tax credit program.

The SR&ED program is complex and requires a technical and financial justification of your R&D efforts to the CRA.

About 25% of the SR&ED claim gets audited and your claim stands to get denied or reduced if you have inadequate documentation and time tracking.

Additionally, it takes 18+ months from the start of your fiscal year until you receive your refund.

In this session, we’ll share how to increase your SR&ED claims, reduce audit risk, and get your refunds before they’re filed. Specifically, you will learn:

  • What is SR&ED, what qualifies, what to claim,
  • How to justify SR&ED tax credit claims to CRA reviewers with detailed documentation and reporting,
  • How to automate and easily track labor time and costs associated with SR&ED eligible projects,
  • How to get your SR&ED refund before your claim is even filed.

You can download the slides here. We’ve condensed the main points for each section below.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: Ultimate Guide to SR&ED

Do I qualify for SR&ED?

  • First of all, what is SR&ED? SR&ED stands for Scientific Research & Experimental Development.?It’s a Canadian research and development tax credit that provided over $3.4B worth of investment tax credits to 22,000 companies in 2013.
  • Applicable to those in software development, ICT, oil and gas technologies, manufacturing, agriculture, and more.
  • Must meet three official criteria to qualify for the tax credit: Technological Advancement; Technological Uncertainty; and Technical content.
  • The CRA uses 5 questions to ensure eligibility. Review the questions in more detail in the slides and be sure you can address them.
  • Companies large and small as well as privately-owned and foreign-owned can claim SR&ED.

What can I claim?

  • Small-medium sized (SME) Canadian controlled private corporations (CCPCs) can claim up to ~64% of eligible salaries, up to ~32% of eligible sub-contractor fees and up to ~42% of materials consumed or transformed.
  • Public or foreign-owned companies (or CCPCs over the SME limit)?can claim up to ~36% of eligible salaries, up to 18% of eligible sub-contractor fees, and up to 24% of materials consumed or transformed.

How do I calculate my potential return?

  • You can leverage a proxy overhead on salaries worth 55% instead of applying the traditional overhead method.
  • The federal portion of returns is 35% and the provincial range from 0-15%.
  • We break down the calculations step by step in our Ultimate Guide to Claiming SR&ED.

What do I have to document?

  • Documentation must be dated, highlight technical obstacles or challenges, and must be recorded at the time the work was completed.
  • SR&ED requires this technical documentation, employee time tracking, as well as proof of payments such T4s and invoices.

How long does it take to process my claim?

  • The deadline to file SR&ED is 18 months past your fiscal year-end. If you file within 6 months of that deadline and you’re a CCPC, the CRA will typically process your claim within 4 months. If you’re a non-CCPC, your claim can take up to 12 months to process.

How does the CRA review claims?

  • A CRA Review is not a tax audit of your entire company.
  • The CRA performs multiple types of reviews: Desktop, Financial, Technical & Financial as well as a First Time Claimant Advisory Services (FTCAS) meeting.

What should I consider when claiming?

  • Pay yourself and staff – you can only claim what you spend as it is a cost-recovery program.
  • Start time tracking and proper documentation now.
  • Incorporate your company and ensure clear IP ownership.

What should I avoid?

  • Don’t underestimate the importance of documentation – documentation is what will support your claim during a CRA Review.
  • Don’t focus solely on the business opportunity – SR&ED is a technology-first program.
  • Don’t leave your SR&ED claim until the last minute – it’s a lot of work. You might as well get your return processed sooner rather than later.

I’m ready to claim. Now what?

You can choose to handle your SR&ED claim in-house or you can outsource the process to Boast.AI.

Boast.AI combines proprietary software with SR&ED experts. Over 500 companies have switched to Boast.AI to increase claims and refunds for less time and audit risk.

  • Full-service SR&ED – our in-house SR&ED experts handle your entire claim process, from identifying qualifying work to preparing technical and financial reports to filing and audit defense.
  • Quicker access to refunds (12-15 months pre-filing) – use our option to finance 75% of your accrued SR&ED pre-filing at preferred interest rates.
  • Access to our community – including annual conference, monthly Founder-Investor dinners across the US and Canada, and weekly webinars with Silicon Valley CEOs and VCs.


Keep reading


How to Access $26 Billion in Canadian Grant Funding

SR&ED Documentation Best Practices

6-Point SR&ED Claim Checklist

US R&D Credits

R&D tax faq

15-Point R&D Tax Credit FAQ

How Startups Can Get $250,000 From The IRS This Tax Season

5 Point R&D Tax Claim Checklist For Guaranteed Returns

Business Growth

Anil Advani

Anatomy of a Venture Capital Term Sheet

24 Startup Fears, Failures & Lessons with Noah Kagan

The Ultimate Playbook for Building High Performing Startup Boards