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Top 7 Tips to Speed Up Your SR&ED Claim Process

The CRA only takes 120 calendar days to process refundable SR&ED claims from the day they are submitted and they meet this SLA most of the time.


Although we can’t do anything about how long it takes the CRA to process SR&ED claims, there are many things you can do that will make the process much easier and smoother so that you can submit your claim as soon as possible.

  1. Educate your team about the SR&ED tax credit program

    Apart from meeting with your SR&ED consultant, have your team attend seminars and webinars to get to know the program inside out. Once you fully understand what is eligible and what the program entails, you’ll be able to better prepare your team for the process, and this will make it much smoother.
  2. Automate time tracking whenever possible

    It is recommended that you track time 100% of the time but this doesn’t need to be difficult. Use software tools to do it for you and set up time tracking tags and categories (Non-SR&ED and SR&ED.
    Here are some automated time tracking tools that will get the job done:

    - Toggl – This minimal solution is free and will help you keep track of tasks. It only needs one click to start tracking. It can also be integrated with various project management platforms like Trello, Asana, and BaseCamp.
    - Harvest - Harvest leverages the power of time tracking to make it easier than ever to know how much time is spent on what.
    - TimeCamp – tasks can be tracked by keywords when the software is switched to automatic. It will upload your tasks and also provides integration nicely with systems such as Asana, BaseCamp, and Trello.
  3. Don’t discuss technical stuff via email

    It’s easy to let email bog you down. Organizing emails into categories and folders is also very time consuming. Most employees say they battle to fill in timesheets with punctuality every day and use other documents including email history to track time retroactively. This leads to inaccurate timesheets and wasted productivity.
    There are many useful tools that can be used to facilitate project communication tracking:

    - Producteev – This platform helps you manage to-do lists and does real-time updates on projects.
    - HipChat – A chat platform that enables group or one-to-one chats. It also features enhanced security, screen sharing, and video calling.
    - Slack –This workplace collaboration tool is mainly used by companies as an alternative to email. Rather than having to deal with a full email inbox, users receive chat messages on the Slack web app instantly, or on their phone or the desktop app. Slack messages can find you any place or any time.
  4. Track documentation

    To be proactive with an SR&ED project is a whole lot easier than being reactive. Although it is not that difficult to look back on what has been done and then gather documentation as best as you can, you can save massive amounts of effort and time by implementing a documentation process even before the start of the project.

    Documentation should be:

    - Dated to show that the work has been done in the fiscal year
    - Highlighting technological challenges and issues
    - Synchronous, i.e. be generated at the time the work is done for SR&ED
  5. Assign an internal ‘SR&ED Champion’
    Although not strictly required, it is often very helpful to designate a team member as the internal SR&ED champion. This person then becomes the firm’s main point of contact and will oversee the entire SR&ED claim process.
    The technical lead is most often asked to fill this role. They are also responsible for lining up interviews with all of the technical staff members who worked on the experimental development work or research.
  6. Review technical reports with your SR&ED consultant in advance

    It is never great to feel rushed to meet deadlines. It’s crucially important to plan the process properly from the start so that nobody feels rushed to meet deadlines. You definitely don’t want to rush through a technical report that may potentially put lots of money back into the company’s bank account!

    Professional SR&ED consultants will allow for enough time to review claims with their clients before submitting well before any deadline.
  7. Start now and plan your SR&ED claim backward

    Projects are normally planned backward, so it makes sense to use the same approach to an SR&ED claim.

    Schedule at least an hour to meet with your SR&ED consultant to plan out your claim from beginning to end. The SR&ED tax incentive program can at times be tricky, so it’s worth it to use an SR&ED guide. If you are proactive and submit your claim within the first 6 months from your fiscal year-end, it will mean your claim will likely be processed by the CRA in much less than the normal 120 days.

Summary

Rather than handling your SR&ED claim reactively as a thing from the past, take the next step and become proactive. This will help the process go much smoother and you’ll have to spend much less time gathering and hunting for documents, leaving you more time to focus on your core business!


 Written by: 

Bryan Watson  

Partner, Flow Ventures

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CLIENT CASE STUDIES

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Warren Wilansky
CEO, Plank
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  Montréal, Québec
Learn how we helped an award-winning digital design studio utilize the SR&ED cycle to grow their team from 5 to over 24 employees

"For over 17 years we have relied on Flow’s expertise in government funding applications, strategies and best practices. We have always been extremely happy with the results of their diligent work."


17 Years

Of SR&ED claims filed

380%

Growth in employee count

100%

Claims accepted as filed