1) Experience with focusing on the correct details of the project (SR&ED consultants possess in-depth knowledge of the government incentive program and ask your team focused, relevant questions to save your time and ensure your company receives every dollar it’s entitled to).
2) Ability to view your technological advancement from a scientific perspective to maximize your SR&ED claim. (Consultants find more qualifying work by viewing your technology from different angles including projects and supporting activities to Maximize the dollar value of your SR&ED claim).
3) Ability to communicate the process effectively. (SR&ED consultants typically have a key turning process that is streamlined to ensure a smooth process and save you time to focus on other business operations or product development. The ability to communicate the process in a methodical manner facilitates the process and makes sure that everyone is on the same page from the start).
4) Defence of your SR&ED claim: Fully supporting you in the event of an audit; reducing the possibility of a rejection. (Some SR&ED consultants will communicate with CRA auditors on your behalf to protect your SR&ED claim and provide supporting arguments if the SR&ED submission were to be challenged.)
5) Proper record keeping to support your claim. (Consultants guide you in preparing the correct supporting documentation and help you structure your SR&ED claim accordingly).
6) Proactive Time Tracking Assistance – Assisting your company with time / project management. (SR&ED consultants possess proprietary enhanced software to process your SR&ED tax credit claims, other software includes project management / time tracking software that is used to package your SR&ED submission in an efficient manner.
7) SR&ED consultants use a proven streamlined process for success and time saving. (SR&ED Consulting firms have designated staff responsible for certain tasks and milestones in the process. This is an internal systematized approach that is precise and time stamped to verify that there are not any steps missing and that the correct parties were followed up with.)
8) Industry experts that are senior SR&ED specialists can complete the technical write-up concisely and put it down on paper in a way that is consistent with the programs criteria. (CRA has reduced the character amount to ensure that only key technological advancement are included).
9) SR&ED Consultants understand the SR&ED program requirements inside – out. Some consultants have both financial and technical backgrounds. (The SR&ED is a convoluted program that involved documentation collection, a technical write-up with strong supporting arguments and a financial portion. SR&ED consultants prepare the claim for your accountant to file with your taxes).
10) Aware of all CRA SR&ED claim guidelines (It is crucial to understand the SR&ED rules and include supporting arguments that would be relevant to the advancement of technology or improvement of a process. A write-up that is irrelevant to the SR&ED criteria, for example: Business, marketing, sales advancements will most likely trigger an audit to review the whole claim as it does not focus on technology or scientific advancement. Additionally, smaller firms will follow up with CRA to facilitate the refunds).
11) Technical expertise to match your business niche. (When selecting the right SR&ED consultant for your company, you want to make sure that they specialize in your business niche and that they possess industry knowledge and experience to fully support your SR&ED claim. Assigning juniors or consultants that do not have industry knowledge/experience is detrimental to your SR&ED claim, as they may not use the correct industry jargon and be as effective at defending or providing supporting arguments).
12) Understand the language of the SR&ED program including schedule deadlines, terminology and which tax forms to use. (As with any other business, you need to understand the business and industry to be successful. It is important to interview your consultant/SR&ED service provider before choosing to file your claim. Always ask for references/testimonials and select a firm/consultant that has a proven track record.)
13) If you do not qualify for an SR&ED claim initially. Some consultants will guide you and provide advice on how to effectively prepare yourself. Furthermore, because consultation firms are connected to industry networks, they may have important strategic relationships that would help grow your business. Such insights can be provided to you as part of the service.
14) Training for your next SRED claim. (Some SR&ED consultants offer hands on training for SR&ED tax credit preparation. This includes educating your team to understand which areas are important for SR&ED and specific record keeping habits.)
15) The SR&ED program can be ambiguous with many gray areas. SR&ED consultants are focused and understand how it is applicable to your development. (The SR&ED program is not black and white. There are many unclear activities that can be considered as eligible SR&ED expenses. These are typically supporting activities to the core R&D, that you cannot do without one another.)
16) Consultants save you time to focus on product development / business operations (The amount of time you would allocate to educate your internal resources on the complexity of the program would be generally be greater than the dollar amount spent for hiring an SR&ED expert).
17) Spend less time and get larger return while freeing up internal resources. (Your development team can focus on what they do best, which is product development and maintaining their momentum is efficient as oppose to boring them with mundane, convoluted tasks, which in turn can work against you and raise flags, if completed incorrectly).
18) Preparing an SR&ED claim yourself may be inadequate or inconsistent. In most cases you are leaving money on the table and risk triggering an audit or getting flagged- SR&ED consultants provide focused results. (Relative to the point above, SR&ED consultants will not place your company in a position that would hinder your claim. In most cases – SR&ED consultants operate on contingency basis, which ultimately means that they partner up with you and are only compensated once you receive the refund. If the refund dollar amount is decreased, so would their compensation for the SR&ED preparation service.)
19) SR&ED experts avoid common mistakes such as writing technical reports that are heavily focused on new features and benefits that a new product brings to the company and is presented as a business project rather than a SR&ED project. (These mistakes cause audits & red flags with CRA) (It is crucial to only focus on technological advancements/challenges rather than business/marketing/sales or other unrelated activities).
20) Inadequate correlation between the technical reports and financial reports could also initiate a CRA review. (The financial report should be a reflection of your technical report and remain consistent in supporting your SR&ED claim).
21) Changes to SR&ED are constant – SR&ED consultants are in the loop and keep up with recent changes to the program. (CRA’s legislative changes from time to time and it is important to keep informed so that your claim reflects these changes).
22) SR&ED consultants generally use contingency fees for success and take the risk. (If your SR&ED consulting firm is unable to recoup your development costs for whichever reason(s), there is not a penny that would come out of your pocket. This protects clients and motivates the consultant(s) to work diligently).
23) Consulting firms often package your personal / corporate taxes, business consulting and other financial services as part of the SR&ED service. (Your company may find it convenient to combine financial services that includes your SR&ED claim preparation into one service provider. Some SR&ED consultants are able to provide you with a package deal which ultimately would reduce your SR&ED rate.
24) Empowerment through education – Some tax credit firms that offer SR&ED services posses a network of resources and extend education/training on how to grow/market your business/product.
25) Program is convoluted – over 70 documents, dozens of tax court of Canada rulings, unclear process (There are tons of documents to sift through to get a basic understanding of the SR&ED program.
26) Mobile: Consultants generally drive to your location for meetings (This is helpful when you are engaged in time sensitive projects. SR&ED Consultants generally make an effort to work around your schedule and some even meet after business hours).
27) Can work remotely. (The convenience of completing tasks remotely is always an advantage. Some SR&ED consultants have streamlined their process to operate remotely. This includes Skype meetings, exchanging e-mails and general conference calls for operational purposes).
28) Proven track record of successful SR&ED claims (When selecting the right SR&ED consultants to work with you, be sure to verify their credentials. This includes, testimonials and a proven track record for your industry/business niche.)
29) Presentation and overview of R&D program to your team. (SR&ED consultants will present the SR&ED program to your team so that they are aware of the process. This can be achieved prior to the work completed and is usually done during a preliminary meeting.
30) Assessment of eligible expenditures and projected SR&ED dollar amount of refund (In addition to identifying eligible SR&ED expenses, SR&ED consultants can provide a projected estimate of the dollar value of your submission, so you know the refundable amount that you can expect to receive in a form of a cheque.)
31) Preparation of tax schedules to attach to your corporate tax return (SR&ED consultants correspond your accountant(s) and will provide you with applicable tax forms. Some consultants will assist you with populating the correct fields when filing with your corporate tax returns. Other SR&ED firms file the claim for you, they have the software and submit it to CRA. )
32) Advice on the eligibility of your future projects. (Examining the potential for future projects prior to the R&D work is beneficial. SR&ED consultants can assist with structuring your claim in an organized fashion, so when it comes to filing for your SR&ED submission, the process will be streamlined and smooth).
33) Protection of confidentiality – Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA). (In the SR&ED business, it is common for SR&ED consulting firms to sign a confidentiality agreement to protect your intellectual property. Some firms even include a section in the service agreement that will automatically protect clients).
34) Introduce to other tax credits, grants and financing for some businesses – other types of government assistance. (Some clients that take advantage of government incentive programs such as SR&ED will also inquire about IRAP or other grants that will propel them to the next development phase. Make sure to inquire about other types of government assistant programs that are available. However, keep in mind that if you do acquire government assistance, the dollar amount would be deducted from your SR&ED submission).
35) Smaller SR&ED consulting firms tend to invest more in relationships and provide a hands on approach. (Larger accounting firms have a large number of clients to deal with on a daily basis. The notion of feeling like a number can be prevalent).
36) Milestone meetings – Quarterly reviews (Your SR&ED consulting firm may meet with you prior to the SR&ED submission, to help you structure your claim effectively and provide quality control in preparation to your claim. This can be extended to your company at no additional cost and as part of the service provided to you).
37) Help finding qualified projects that have failed (This is the only time of the year where you get to brag about your project failures. Failed R&D projects can certainly be claimed as part of SR&ED, so even if you were unable to overcome a technological hurdle; associated costs can be included in your SR&ED claim).
38) conduct financial and technical review to ensure that there aren’t any important factors which are missed. (Quality control of both the financial and technical write-up is conducted prior to submission. This is done to ensure that there are no red flags and that information presented is consistent with the SR&ED program criteria and your business).
39) Inform you of government deadlines (It is known that companies are overwhelmed with product development and business operations that they forget about the hard government deadline for SR&ED. Your SR&ED consultant will inform you a head of time so that you do not miss the deadline and lose out on a whole year of development.)
40) Process improvement – achieved through the optimization of SR&ED tax credit applications yields economic benefits for the industry as a whole. ( SR&ED consultants are also industry experts and are aware of efficient processes in the industry. Some consultants will provide guidance and solutions to improve business operations).
41).) Evaluation of eligibility of your projects prior to submission. (SR&ED consultants can meet with you to discuss your projects and determine eligibility. This can also be achieved via conference call with a lead developer or a technical project manager).