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 ITIL4 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.