Keeping a technology focus

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) encourages claimants under the Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive program to describe their project work at a technology level, and with a technology focus (what CRA guidance documents sometimes describe as looking through a technology lens) because this is the level at which SR&ED work must be…

Details

Baby Steps

In the Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive program, the pursuit of a technological advancement (TA) is about the attempt to gain some small, incremental improvement in the face of technological uncertainty, outside the boundaries of known or standard approaches, and through experimental means.  It’s about taking baby steps, and seeking small gains…

Details

Seed Projects

Sometimes a claim is just too small, too weak, or too poorly supported to be worth the effort and cost of pursuing it. Occasionally, however, a small claim represents an opportunity that it could cost you dearly to overlook. When is a small claim not too small?  When it’s a seed project. Every claim has…

Details

The Novelty Argument

Of course, no discussion of TA would be complete without talking about “novelty”.  Novelty is what the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) refers to when we make an argument that a certain chunk of work must be a technological advancement because that work entailed doing something that has never been done or attempted before. The first…

Details

Complexity and SR&ED

Project complexity does not equate to technological uncertainty, nor does overcoming complexity translate to technological advancement. I’ve learned this from hard experience, and I will share why. .    From time to time, a company will find themselves wishing to claim work from a project that was very large and extremely complex.  Often, such projects may…

Details

The Zen of SR&ED

Perhaps you are familiar with the phrase “the sound of one hand clapping”.  It’s all very mysterious and evocative.  I’m not particularly mystical or meditative, but I’m going to use this phrase in a discussion of two opposite extremes in the preparation of an SR&ED claim.  My thesis is simple — an SR&ED claim needs…

Details

SR&ED Process Thinking:

As I discussed in the previous post, these processes need to be extremely lightweight, because most companies are in the “business” business, which is to say, manufacturing, or computer programming, or tool and die work, etc., or whatever business they happen to be in. SR&ED is supposed to help by mitigating the costs of technical…

Details

SR&ED Process Thinking:

This article talks about SR&ED process thinking, first by examining the concept and characteristics of a framework for pursuing SR&ED, and then, secondly, by reflecting on the processes that might be needed as a part of such a framework. I think a spider web is a useful paradigm for building SR&ED-supportive processes within your company.…

Details

Self-Compliance

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) occasionally speaks about SR&ED claimants achieving a state which CRA calls “self-compliant”.  On the surface, it seems like a reasonable goal – a claimant should have reached a level of sophistication, about the SR&ED program, which enables them to claim only what should be claimed, and presumably, never to claim…

Details

Marginal Claims

Some claims just aren’t that strong. Claims may be weak for a wide number of reasons – lack of clear technological uncertainty or technological advancements being sought, lack of evidence (or even a strong case) for experimental development, or even financial costs not commensurate with the core science. Whatever the weaknesses, it is also true…

Details

Adding the SR&ED Facts

I have a theory about the documentary evidence required to support SR&ED claims, and it is this:  if you want your work processes to create evidence that you are doing SR&ED, then you will have to tweak and evolve the processes themselves so that they include what I call the “SR&ED facts”. I’m talking about…

Details

Leaving Normal

“Normally, when faced with this kind of problem, I would …” This is an example of a statement that might be made by any experienced person, about a technical problem. Someone, that is, who actually knows what “normal” is, and who is experienced enough, and perceptive enough, to recognize that “this isn’t normal”. Such a…

Details