Along with the other changes that the CRA has been implementing over the past couple years, the Claim Review Manual has been updated. This is the manual that tells the CRA reviewers what processes they need to follow when reviewing an SR&ED claim. This review manual is meant to make the review process more consistent from review to review, and from reviewer to reviewer. It sets out clear guidelines as to what is to happen in a review, and what kind of timeline the reviewer should be following when working on a claim. The manual is also supposed to increase the co-ordination between the technical and financial reviewers, and to increase the communication quality between the reviewer and you (the claimant).

The CRA’s website has laid out the steps to a review, as listed in the CRA Review Manual. A brief overview follows:

  1. Preparing and planning:
    • Reviewing your claim
    • Identifying issues with your claim (ie – areas they are unsure can be considered SR&ED)
    • Making first contact with you
  2. Conducting a site visit:
    • Preparing for the review (the reviewer will contact you by phone or letter to discuss when the review will happen)
    • Preliminary review work (interviewing any possible staff involved with the SR&ED work, explaining the SR&ED program, etc)
    • On-site review (tour of the facilities, interviewing staff involved in the SR&ED work, reviewing supporting documentation)
    • Request for more information to be sent to the CRA reviewer
    • Communication of preliminary decisions (if possible, the reviewer will let you know what kind of results to expect from your claim submission)
  3. Finalizing results:
    • SR&ED review report (prepared by the CRA for you, to allow you to review it and provide any new information if you disagree with their assessment)
    • Finalization of technical and financial reports (these reports will be sent to you by mail, be delivered in a meeting, or discussed over the phone)
    • Dispute resolution (if you disagree with the CRA’s final report)
    • Appeals process