The CRA offers SR&ED claimants a service called Pre-Claim Consultation (PCC).
This service will tell you if there is SR&ED eligible work in any of your projects before you submit it to claim SR&ED. The idea behind this is to save you time and effort in putting together a claim and having to wait months thereafter before knowing if your claim is eligible or not. Once a decision is reached by CRA, it could be several months before you finally receive any refunds from SR&ED.
PCC gives you the opportunity to know in advance if your projects have SR&ED eligible activities.
CRA will also give you advice on what type of documentation you will need to support your claim as well answer any questions. CRA will even provide you a written report outlining what activities would be eligible for SR&ED. There are several limitations however of the PCC, which you should be aware of including:
The projects must be completed or in progress:
This means that you cannot obtain a PCC for projects you are thinking of implementing (i.e. has not started). This is unfortunate if you are a start-up company looking for funding from SR&ED but do not want to start implementing your project until you know there is some sort of funding from SR&ED assured in advance.
The projects were not already reviewed or given a determination of eligibility:
If you already claimed a project previously that you wish to claim again, you cannot obtain a PCC even if some of the activities were different from the prior claim. Once CRA has made a determination on a project it is no longer available for PCC.
PCC can only be requested for a maximum of 3 projects per taxation year:
If you have more than 3 projects to claim, you will have to submit a claim without receiving a PCC on some of your projects. This is unfortunate for large companies that have heavily invested in R&D, since they will likely have more than 3 projects to claim in a year.
Date of request for PCC must be within 4 months of taxation year end in which the work was done:
Once you pass the 4 months, you cannot request a PCC for those projects. This timeline may not fit with your business priorities as you might be busy with production expansion, financial reporting or other initiatives right after your year-end. This would also not work for companies that are not aware of the program until well after the deadline to request a PCC.
The report will not include decisions on the extent of eligible work or the allowable expenditures:
CRA cannot give you a concrete yes or no on whether the project would be accepted as filed or if there would be any adjustments to the expenses claimed. You would still have to submit the claim as you would normally without a PCC and go through a review process. There is a chance after the review process your claim is still rejected or adjusted. The PCC only tells you if certain activities within your project qualify for SR&ED but do not pre-approve the project.
Overall the PCC is a useful free service to get some guidance and direction from CRA but they cannot give you a pre-approval, there is still uncertainty as to whether your projects will get approved or adjusted. Also, there are many limitations/restrictions in using this service as mentioned above. Also, the CRA doesn’t file the claim for you.
Then why hire a SR&ED Consultant?
The good news is that our team of very experienced SR&ED experts at EVAMAX can provide you with the same level of service and even more than what the PCC provides.
- We assign the appropriate industry specialist SR&ED expert to work with you to ensure they understand your business and technology.
- We can give you an opinion on whether your projects would be eligible or not for SR&ED including the extent to which they would be eligible as well as the expenses being claimed.
- We can consult on projects no matter what stage they are at (i.e. in progress, completed or contemplating).
- We also assist you in claim preparation and defense.
Our goal is to maximize the benefits for our clients. Even if you had tried to submit a project in the past, we can also look at those for future submission to uncover items overlooked and maximize your claim regardless of whether it was accepted or not.