The Office of the Taxpayer’s Ombudsman released word on their investigation into the Canadian SR&ED program this week. The OTO committed to looking into the program’s service and administrative fairness after hearing of “dissatisfaction” with the SR&ED program from claimants and representatives. The OTO set out with a firm objective: “Through research and analysis, we had hoped to assess whether the CRA is administering the SR&ED program fairly and providing professional service to claimants. We expected that our investigation of complaints and analysis of the issues would result in the publication of a Special Report with recommendations.”

The results of the study were somewhat surprising following the Jenkins report – the OTO released no recommendations or complaints with the program. The OTO comments: “Although we heard numerous accounts of discontent with the SR&ED program among claimants, we were unable to validate many of the criticisms due to a lack of complaints to investigate.” During consultations with tax intermediaries and claimants, the OTO “urged them to file formal complaints with our Office,” but most declined to do so.

The OTO released an Observation Paper, containing observations on issues raised by stakeholders within the OTO mandate. Issues examined include:

–          Regional comparisons

–          Preliminary Eligibility Discussions

–          Rationale provided for ineligible claims

–          Administrative Second Review by the CRA

–          Appeals Process

Read the Observation Paper in full here for detailed findings.