Posted on February 8th, 2024 by Don Knechtel in Manufacturing & Distribution, Agribusiness, Domestic Tax

Have you Considered the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Credit?

Female Worker Programming Production Line Speed While Sorting Cherry Peppers In Food Processing Plant

Is your corporation involved in such activities as agricultural and food processing, information and/or communication technology, life sciences, advanced manufacturing, or independent research to name a few.  If so, you may be eligible to claim a Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Credit (SRED).  When we think of scientific research, we often think of the scientist in the lab wearing a white coat.  This isn’t always the case as many claims are a result of development or improvements to a product or process on the shop floor.

In order to qualify, the work must be conducted for the advancement of scientific knowledge or for the purpose of achieving a technological advancement.  It is important to note that you do not have to achieve your goal in order to gain new knowledge. For example, if your work allowed you to understand that the idea you tested is not a solution for your situation, this can be considered new knowledge.  What’s important is that the knowledge gained advances the understanding of science or technology, not how the work advanced your corporation or business practices.

The work must be a systematic investigation or search that is carried out in a field of science or technology by means of experiment or analysis.  A systematic investigation or search refers to how SRED work is carried out. It is more than just having a systematic approach to your work or using established techniques or protocols.  A systematic investigation or search must include the following steps:

  • Defining a problem.
  • Advancing a hypothesis towards resolving that problem.
  • Planning and testing the hypothesis by experiment or analysis.
  • Developing logical conclusions based on the results.

The federal government will allow corporations  to claim an Investment Tax Credit (ITC) of 15% on eligible expenditures.  This ITC can be applied against the current year’s income tax or in some cases carried back to a previous tax year or forward to a future tax year.  However, some small business corporations may earn an ITC of 35% on eligible expenditures which may be fully refundable in the year. 

Eligible expenditures include:

  • Canadian wages and salaries.
  • An overhead calculation.
  • Canadian R&D-related contracts.
  •  Materials.
  • Payments made to eligible research institutions.

The province of Ontario also provides additional incentives to corporations carrying out SRED activities in the province.  Certain small business corporations can earn a refundable Ontario Innovation Tax Credit (OITC) of 8% on eligible expenditures.  In addition, the Ontario Research and Development Tax Credit (ORDTC) is available. It is a 3.5% non-refundable tax credit based on eligible expenditures incurred by a corporation in a tax year.

It is important to note that the deadline to file a SRED claim on your tax return is eighteen months after your taxation year.

So If you haven’t considered SRED, it may be worthwhile to do so.


About the Author

Don KnechtelPartner | CPA, CA

Don has over 25 years practicing in the area of taxation for both individual and corporate clients, including estate tax, corporate reorganizations, estate planning, and succession planning.
More About Don >