Archive for the ‘SR&ED’ Category

SR&ED for Physicians and Medical Professional Corporations

Canada is recognized as a world leader in healthcare and medicine with many ground-breaking discoveries under its belt. Formidable efforts by various parties in the medical sector including physicians, medical professional corporations (MPCs) and health care entities (HCEs) to perform intensive research in a wide range of critical fields—from cancer research to population health—have led to significant developments in treatment strategies and sustainability of the public healthcare system.

Government support for research and development activities is evidenced by available funding programs for health research as well as tax incentives for performing Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) work in this industry. As the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) recognizes advancements in scientific knowledge and technology contributed by medical research, this work generally meets the eligibility criteria of the SR&ED program.

Who can claim SR&ED?

According to the CRA, in order to claim SR&ED tax incentives, the SR&ED work must be directly undertaken by the taxpayer (i.e., Physicians and corporations (MPCs, HCEs, etc.))  or undertaken by another party on behalf of the taxpayer, and result in expenditures.

SR&ED claims are typically submitted by MPCs or independent physicians. MPCs are usually incorporated by physicians to operate a medical practice/business and thus SR&ED claims are submitted as a corporation. As for physicians operating as independent contractors for another entity, the physicians may directly submit an SR&ED claim for themselves. The CRA outlines the common scenarios where MPCs or physicians claim SR&ED :

MPCs and their physician-employees (incorporated business)

MPCs may submit SR&ED claims as a corporation in the following cases:

  • The work was directly undertaken by the MPC and their physician-employees.
  • The work performed on behalf of another party is carried out by the MPC’s physician-employees.*
  • Any additional work on top of the work performed on behalf of another party is directly carried out and funded by the MPC.

* However, if only the MPC’s physician-employees (excluding the MPC) are named on the agreements/contracts as performing the SR&ED work, the MPC cannot submit the SR&ED claim. The physicians, however, may submit the SR&ED claim for themselves.

Physicians as independent contractors (unincorporated business)

Independent physicians may directly submit an SR&ED claim for themselves when:

  • The medical research was carried out by physicians themselves or their employees.
  • The medical research was performed on behalf of another party AND the physician has incurred SR&ED expenditures that have not been reimbursed.  

Physicians may include salaries and benefits payable to their employees in the SR&ED claim but salaries or drawings paid or payable to sole proprietors or their partners are not deductible.

How do physicians/MPCs need to prepare for the SR&ED claim?

Sufficient project documentation is critical to support the eligibility of an SR&ED claim. The claimant must be prepared to present documentation that clearly shows whether the claimant performed the SR&ED work for themselves or on behalf of another party, which entity incurred the SR&ED related expenses, and the detailed breakdown of the medical research activities undertaken. The CRA recommends that all agreements be in writing. Where there are no written agreements, claimants should provide alternative evidence that demonstrates which party is legally responsible for performing the research.

Here are the main types of documentation required:

  • Research-related documents: These are documents and records showing the work performed. An example of research documentation shows a detailed account of the research, developments, challenges, and learnings throughout the project. 
  • Financial documents: These are documents and records that show the SR&ED expenditures incurred. These include material cost, labour activities and subcontractor quotes/invoices.
  • Relationship-contractual agreements: These are contracts and other documents that show the clear legal relationships and terms of the agreement between the physicians and/or their MPCs and other parties. These contractual agreements should describe the nature of the SR&ED work, the associated payments, and the ownership of the resultant knowledge.
  • Other documents: These are documents that can be considered as another source of information to support a claim. For example, e-mails or signed attestations describing terms of the SR&ED work may be considered as supporting documents.

What are eligible sub-sectors?

Medical sub-sectors that are eligible for claiming SR&ED tax incentives include, but are not limited to:

  • Medical devices and Biomaterials
  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems
  • Neuroscience and Neural Imaging
  • Radiology and Nuclear medicines
  • Dentistry and Oral Medicine
  • Medical and Biomedical Engineering
  • Pediatrics
  • Telemedicine and Medical voice assistants
  • Genetic Medicines Therapeutics and Pharmacogenomics
  • Oncology Research
  • Big Health Data
  • Public Health Management
  • Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
  • Precision Medicine
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Anaesthesiology, Pharmaceuticals, and Toxicology

Trends and priorities constantly change across all aspects of health, which calls for continuous research and development to propel innovations in health and medicine.

To learn more about how to claim SR&ED tax incentives for medical research activities, contact us today for a free consultation.



Authored by Rebecca Galicha, Technical Writer at NorthBridge Consultants.

What Every Canadian Startup Needs to Know About Non-Dilutive Financing

When it comes to starting a Canadian business, especially one with expensive R&D aspirations such as those in the high tech industry, it’s of crucial importance that a startup leverages government funding to extend the runway of its venture.  

A startup that doesn’t capitalize on the wide range of government funding opportunities is putting itself at a huge disadvantage, which can not only limit profitability but also undermine innovation and relinquish equity that would otherwise remain centralized.

In order to maintain the vast majority of control in a company during the startup process, it’s important that funding leverages non-dilutive financing when possible. While dilutive funding can be advantageous to get over fiscal hurdles requiring a quick injection of revenue, dilution will affect executive discretion and detract from long-term profits as financers exercise their power as shareholders or seek high returns on their investments. Venture capital and angel investors should, therefore, be tentatively used during the startup process until after the risk surrounding commercialization has been surmounted and any leverage held by financers is obviated. The SR&ED tax credit program, in combination with the other sources of non-dilutive government funding, can maximize a startup’s potential for success by reducing the risk of research and development.

Maximizing Profits and Mitigating Risk with SR&ED

Canada’s Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program provides an amazing means of funding a business every fiscal year with tax incentives. That means small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can start collecting substantial returns up to 35% on qualified expenditures following their first year of research and experimentation, as long as program criteria are met. The Canadian government’s commitment to supporting innovation ascends beyond almost every other industrialized nation in the world, as demonstrated by the more than $3B paid out each year to participating companies. A startup that structures their business to meet SR&ED requirements from the start will be all the more prepared to save countless dollars that can accelerate business growth and product development as the money is reinvested into further project innovation.

To qualify for SR&ED, first and foremost a company must be a Canadian-controlled private corporation with a total net income below $800k and taxable capital employed in Canada not exceeding $50M. A company can claim expenditures related to experimental development, applied and basic research, and support work by ensuring that these expenditures meet the three criteria of SR&ED’s assessment on scientific or technological eligibility. That is, a company must establish that their claimed project (1) has technological uncertainty that can only be overcome through (2) systematic investigation and that hypothesis formulation and experimental analysis during development (3) generates information that advances understanding of the underlying technologies.

Another critical requirement to claiming SR&ED is ensuring that the necessary information is collected throughout the year to comprehensively file a claim, which is why structuring a startup to track experimental development, employee labor, material expenditures, etc. is essential for maximizing business efficiency. With a practical tracking system in place, claiming SR&ED tax credits can be a lucrative strategy for financing prototype and minimal viable product (MVP) development, as well as funding clinical trials (in the medtech industry for example), because it affords a company the opportunity to take risks in their experimentation to improve new technologies and approaches, and ultimately help form and articulate patents/IP to garner further investment.

Combining Sources of Early-Stage Funding

Depending on the size of a startup and the stage of business development, companies can also avoid dilution by applying for multiple government loans and grants. Loans bear the cost of interest in return for less operational oversight, while grants serve as a non-repayable contribution that is contingent on meeting various qualifications.

The National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) offers an especially rewarding means of financing SMEs qualifying in technology innovation. IRAP funding typically ranges between $50k-250k, making it a great opportunity to subsidize research and experimental efforts without diluting shares or falling beholden to acquisitive creditors. The Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) is another great source to receive innovation funding through industry-specific programs with special emphasis on digital and software work within the information and communications technology (ICT) sector.

Acquiring Private Sources of Funding

Whenever a business does decide that private investment is the best way forward or bridge funding is required to overcome particular fiscal restraints, SR&ED financing can help to fill the funding gap in a non-dilutive manner, prior to subsequent funding rounds.

While the SR&ED tax credit program is critical for the viability of startup companies in Canada, the main challenge with the SR&ED program is that it often takes over one year before the funds can be received by the applicant. SR&ED financing helps to facilitate and alleviate existing cash flow issues in early-stage businesses, as startup companies often have difficulty commercializing their concepts after exhausting their previous rounds of funding. In this way, accrual debt financing in the form of SR&ED financing allows early-stage companies to bridge the funding gap and extend the runaway until the next funding round, thereby bolstering their business plans.

Moreover, a successful track record of securing government funding, such as SR&ED tax credits, can appeal to private investors by reducing the perceivable risk for funding product development.  

All of this funding information is sometimes a lot to process, but NorthBridge Consultants is here to help. If you have any questions or want to learn more about SR&ED for startups, please contact us.

Co-authored by Philip Finkelstein, Technical Writer, and Ela Malkovsky, Technical Writer/ Editor–in-Chief at NorthBridge Consultants.

Budget 2019: Highlights for Businesses

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s election year budget, tabled on March 19th, 2019, forecasted a deficit of $19.8B for fiscal 2019, with deficits projected to decline gradually to $9.8B by 2023.

No additional measures were proposed to provide business tax reductions, or to address the 2018 Fall Economic Statement announcements regarding an Accelerated Investment Incentive or the immediate write-off of manufacturing/processing and clean energy machinery and equipment in response to the recent U.S. tax reform.  

The initiatives proposed in Budget 2019 are heavily focused on investments in skills and training and offer some limited benefits to Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs).

SR&ED Enhanced Tax Credit Rate Eligibility Amended

The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Tax Incentive Program provides a  basic 15% , non-refundable credit to all businesses performing SR&ED in Canada. Eligible small and medium-sized companies can qualify for enhanced 35% refundable tax credit rate of qualifying SR&ED expenditures up to $3M per fiscal year.

Eligibility for the 35% rate is determined by a business’ level of taxable capital and income from the prior fiscal year. 

  • The taxable capital threshold is between $10M and $50M.
  • The taxable income threshold begins at $500,000 taxable income in the prior year and reduces current fiscal year eligibility for the enhanced credit on a sliding scale until $800,000 taxable income in the prior year.

Budget 2019 proposed to eliminate the income threshold to qualify for federal enhanced (refundable) SR&ED investment tax credits for taxation years beginning on or after March 19, 2019, for SMEs, in order to increase support for SMEs that are scaling up their R&D efforts or have variable income from year to year. The capital threshold will continue to apply.

The proposed changes will allow SMEs to continue to receive refundable tax credits on up to $3M in expenditures, regardless of their profitability. 

Corporate Rates and Employee Stock Option Deductions (Compared to U.S. Tax Measures)

Despite tax-payer anticipation for Canadian corporate tax rate reductions in accordance with recent U.S. tax reform, there were no proposed changes in Budget 2019 to the corporate income tax rates or to the $500,000 Small-Business Deduction Limit for Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPCs).

Budget 2019 proposed to impose a $200,000 annual cap on employee stock option grants for employees of large, long-established, mature firms in alignment with the U.S. tax treatment. Employee stock option benefits of startups and rapidly growing Canadian businesses will remain uncapped.

Further details of this measure will be released before the summer of 2019.

Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan is Ongoing

Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan was launched in 2017 to help Canadian businesses start up, scale up, and become globally competitive.

  • In February 2018 the Government announced a $950M investment in five regional industry-led innovation superclusters including digital technologies, food production, advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence in supply chain management, and ocean industries. These superclusters have assumed operation and are expected to create 50,000 jobs and add $50B to the economy over the next 10 years. 
  • The $1.2B Strategic Innovation Fund was launched in July 2017, to spur Canadian innovation by supporting the costs of direct labour, subcontractors, and consultants, as well as overhead, direct materials and equipment, land and building, and other direct costs. As of January 2019, the Fund had secured 31 investment agreements from leading researchers and manufacturers, worth a total of $8.1B, including a federal investment of $795M. Budget 2019 proposes to provide a further $100M over four years, starting in 2019–20, to the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF).  The SIF will leverage private sector co-investments in order to support the activities of the Clean Resource Innovation Network.
  • Innovative Solutions Canada was launched in December 2017, replacing the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP), to help companies bridge the technology gap between the R&D stage of projects and the pre-commercialization phase through government acquisitions. The program will dedicate over $100M annually by the end of March 2020 to support challenges issued by twenty participating federal departments and agencies to address federal government needs.
  • The first Canadian National Intellectual Property Strategy was proposed in Budget 2018. Budget 2019 announced intent to move forward with a pilot Patent Collective, to help Canadian start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises pool together vital intellectual property assets.

Workforce Development Investments

Budget 2019 proposed investments in talent acquisition and skills training that impact businesses including: 

  • $35.2M over five years, starting in 2019, with $7.4M per year ongoing to make the Global Talent Stream a permanent program to give Canadian businesses enhanced access to top global talent. The Global Stream Talent pilot project was a part of the Global Skills Strategy that was announced in the 2016 Fall Economic Statement.
  • More than $1.7B over five years, and $586.5M per year ongoing to: (1) implement a Canada Training Benefit which will include a new, refundable Canada Training Credit (CTC) to help cover up to half of eligible tuition and fees associated with training, and (2) to implement a new Employment Insurance Training Support Benefit to provide income support when an individual requires time off work As of 2019, eligible individuals will be able to accumulate $250 annually (up to a maximum of $5,000 over a lifetime) that can be applied towards eligible expenses beginning in 2020.
  • An additional $150.0M over four years, starting in 2020, to Employment and Social Development Canada to create up to 20,000 additional work-integrated learning opportunities annually in partnership with innovative businesses.

Additional Funding Proposed in Budget 2019

  • $100M over three years (on a cash basis), starting in 2019, to Western Economic Diversification Canada to increase its programming in western Canada.
  • New Strategic Science Fund starting in 2022, which will operate under a principles-based framework for allocating federal funding for third-party science and research organizations. The Minister of Science will provide more detail on the Fund over the coming months.
  • Implementation of new Regulatory Roadmaps for reviewing and modernizing regulatory requirements and practices that impede innovation and growth in the following high-growth sectors:
    • Agri-food and aquaculture
    • Health and bio-sciences
    • Transportation/infrastructure

This includes the establishment of a regulatory sandbox for new and innovative medical products such as tissues developed through 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and gene therapies targeted to specific individuals. Further details will be released in the coming weeks.

Ontario Budget 2018 Highlights

The Ontario 2018 Budget, tabled on March 28, 2018, projects a growing deficit over the next three years and is predicted to resume a downward trend in 2022 with accumulated deficit expected to decline from 23.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017-18 to 22.1% by 2022.

The Ontario Budget proposes several measures and investments that impact businesses, including:

Innovation

  • An increase to the Ontario Research and Development Tax Credit (ORDTC) from 3.5% to 5.5% for eligible R&D expenditures over $1M (per taxation year) incurred on or after March 28, 2018.
  • Enhancements to the Ontario Innovation Tax Credit (OITC) for eligible R&D expenditures incurred on or after March 28, 2018 based on the ratio of R&D expenditures to gross revenues. Companies with a ratio of R&D expenditures to gross revenue of:
    • 10% or less will continue to claim the OITC at a rate of 8%;
    • 10-20% will be eligible for an enhanced OITC rate that will increase from 8% to 12% on a straight-line basis; and
    • 20% or more will be eligible to claim the OITC at a rate of 12%.
  • Expansions to the Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (OIDMTC) eligibility criteria to include broadcaster purchased or licensed film/television websites that host film, television, or Internet production content not previously assessed (before Nov 1, 2017).
  • A review of various tax incentives implemented in other jurisdictions such as preferential corporate income tax rates (i.e., patent boxes), tax refunds, tax deductions, and exemptions with the intention of developing a provincial incentive to encourage Intellectual Property (IP).
  • An additional $50M over 10 years for the New Transformative Technology Partnerships Fund for businesses, SMEs, and scale‐ups as well as post-secondary and research institutions to collaborate on new dynamic products and services in artificial intelligence (AI), 5G wireless communications, autonomous vehicles, advanced computing, and quantum technologies.

Business Growth

  • In parallel with the 2018 Federal Budget proposal to phase-out or grind the $500,000 small-business limit, the Ontario Budget proposes to phase out the small-business limit on a straight-line basis for CCPCs (and associated corporations) earning between $50,000 and $150,000 of passive investment income in taxation years beginning after 2018.
  • Ending the electricity debt retirement charge (DRC) for mid-sized commercial and industrial non-ICI or non-RRP, Class B consumers as of April 1, 2018.
  • An additional $100M over 10 years for the Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) and the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) to support regional economic development by creating jobs, attracting private sector investment and promoting innovation, and encouraging collaboration and cluster development.
  • An additional $500M over 10 years for the New Economy Fund for investing in priority sectors such as advanced manufacturing, information and communication technology (ICT), life sciences, and clean-tech.
  • An additional $85M over 3 years for the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund to stimulate economic development and diversification across the region.
  • An additional $100M over 10 years for a new Greater Toronto & Hamilton Area Fund to support SMEs in the GTA and Hamilton area.

Export Market

  • Work to implement a Global Trade Strategy to diversify and promote trade in Ontario. This will include the Accelerate to International Markets program, the Global Growth Fund, and the Magnet Export Business Portal.

Startup Support

  • An additional $85M over 10 years for a new Venture Technology Fund to support a select number of very high‐potential, fast‐growing firms in expanding to become globally competitive.
  • An additional $15M over the next 3 years to NextAI, a Toronto based accelerator for early stage startups that leverage AI technologies.

Workforce Development

  • An additional $170M over 3 years for the new Ontario Apprenticeship Strategy to support transition into apprenticeship from high school, make the system easier to navigate, and to improve access for apprentices to high‐quality jobs upon completion.
  • Transforming the Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit (ATTC) into the new Graduated Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (GAGE) to encourage employers to ensure that apprentices complete their training.

Our Manufacturing Roots Run Deep

Before building a SR&ED and government funding consultation business, Sol Algranti, President and CEO of Northbridge Consultants, worked in the manufacturing industry for many years.

After finishing education in a high school for skilled trades, Sol began working in a large plastics manufacturing company where he gained practical knowledge of various plastic processes including injection moulding, blow moulding, extrusion and co-extrusion. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering while working for an optical glass manufacturer, where he developed improved processes and designed pneumatically-controlled machines. After completing his Master’s degree in Systems Engineering, Sol worked as the Chief of Planning/Scheduling in a large plastic pipe manufacturing company and started a metallurgy business, providing metal heat treatment services to manufacturing companies.

Sol applied his expertise to improve manufacturing methods, and to reduce costs as the process engineer for Westbend of Canada in Barrie, Ontario. Thereafter, Sol’s expertise in plastics earned him the position of Advanced Manufacturing Engineer at Camco (Canadian Appliance Manufacturing Company), where he was responsible for all plastics processes and optimized operations in the large Hamilton, London and Montreal facilities during a major transition period. Sol then moved to a position at ABC group for MSB Plastics as the general manager for their struggling Toronto facility.   Sol worked 6 days per week to optimize operations and within two to three months, he had transformed it into a profitable operation.

In 1989, Sol negotiated a leveraged buyout to acquire Shirlon Plastics, an established Cambridge-based manufacturer of plastics products with a niche in the Canadian Recreational Vehicle (RV) industry. Less than a year later, the 1990 recession began and the RV industry was one of the hardest hit sectors, forcing many RV manufacturers to go out of business. On the brink of bankruptcy, Sol  worked relentlessly to expand his market base to the United States, and took huge financial risk to invest in the diversification of his product line. His efforts paid off and enabled Shirlon to not only survive the recession but to thrive afterwards.

Sol expanded his business through a diversification into gardening products, and through the acquisition of several companies including a large vacuum forming and sheet extrusion company, a plastics rotational moulding business, and a custom mould manufacturer.  He relied on intensive R&D to improve his product line, to increase market share, and to remain competitive, he began claiming for SR&ED tax credits. The funding he received from the SR&ED program was reinvested into the development of new products and new technologies. By 2007, Sol had 6 manufacturing companies in plastic products and tooling industries and continues today to be involved in manufacturing through his remaining plastics company, investments, and consulting practice.

Sol’s profound background in research and development in the manufacturing sector has provided Northbridge with a strong foundation in the SR&ED program. Moreover, Sol’s manufacturing heritage gives NorthBridge a unique understanding of the risks that manufacturers take when they invest in R&D and the overall challenges that manufacturing businesses face when trying to grow and remain competitive.

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