Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has recently announced their new First Time Claimant Advisory Service (FTCAS). This service replaces an older First Time Claimant Service where a new claimant had to apply for the service. Now CRA is attempting to make FTCAS mandatory depending on the number of new claimants and the availability of staff. Here is some information directly from the CRA FTCAS website:
The First-Time Claimant Advisory Service (FTCAS) is a free in-person service that provides first-time scientific research and experimental development (SR&ED) claimants with an opportunity to meet with local Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) SR&ED staff, at their place of business, to gain a better understanding of the SR&ED Program. During these visits the SR&ED reviewers will provide businesses with advice on, how to identify potential eligible work in the context of their business; how to identify allowable expenditures; the types of documentation and other evidence that could support a claim; and how to complete and file their future SR&ED claims.
As a claimant you are not allowed to request this service as it occurs post filing. The goal of this service from CRA’s perspective is to increase predictability for future year’s claims. No eligibility assessment will be made on the current years claims. In addition, once you have your FTCAS meeting with the representatives from CRA your prior years claims will be accepted as filed (AAF).
Our thoughts on this service
We think this service is an excellent gesture from CRA to improve claims moving forward as they attempt to talk to all new claimants. In an attempt to improve predictability for claimants, CRA is coming out and giving first hand advice on how to submit good claims and how to keep track of the necessary records to ensure future claims are submitted correctly.
We feel this is an excellent tool as a SRED consultant because it will give CRA a chance to reassure our clients that the service we’re providing them is valuable and reinforce the work that must be done by our clients to ensure they’re keeping good records of their SR&ED activities.
This is another example of CRA attempting to form a partnership with consultants and claimants to ensure that claimants are maximizing what they can get out of this federal tax incentive program.