What Is SR&ED: Scientific Research & Experimental Development


Every country has ways to acquire, use, and manage finances, most significantly the tax collection and credits sector. For the past years, Canada has used the SR&ED program in its operations, which has proven beneficial enough to several businesses in the country.

SRED stands for Scientific Research & Environmental Development. It is a Canadian program to help research businesses for better and more technological advancements. Besides improving technology, the program strengthens business operators and the government through various claims and benefits.

If you desire to benefit from the SR&ED, ensure that your business strictly lies in the specified category to avoid getting into trouble with the authorities. You must be equipped with most of the information you require on the SR&ED program.

Here is a highlight of the different definitions of SR&ED, alongside other crucial details to do with the Canadian program. Let’s learn about what is SR&ED:

SR&ED Definition

The Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) is a Canadian tax incentive system made to motivate businesses in Canada to undertake research and development programs through various funding and incentives.

SR&ED is systematic research undertaken in science or technology through experiments to improve scientific knowledge, advance technology, and create new opportunities in the fields.

SR&ED History

The Scientific Research & Experimental Development program started officially in May 1985 when the Canadian government saw the need for research and development across the country. It bestowed the responsibility upon The Canada Revenue Agency while the Finance Department made the laws.

SR&ED has remained significant in Canada, with plenty of businesses boasting about its importance. In 1986, the term SR&ED was officially introduced to the Regulations’ Section 2900, which also specified that the benefits from the program were strictly meant for research businesses.

SR&ED Importance

With SR&ED, businesses can undertake quality research and development operations without fearing financial constraints. Even when using their finances or capital to run the business, they remain eligible for SR&ED tax deductions on the expenditures by just applying for a claim. Therefore, the level of returns and performance is improved while enabling the operators to be more innovative and creative.

Businesses can accumulate various benefits for later use. SR&ED allows its users to pool various expenditures of their preference into a future date, meaning you don’t have to claim all your tax benefits immediately. This acts as a way of saving for the uncertain future in the technology field. Overall, SR&ED keeps the company ahead of others and in a safer spot in the unpredictable future.

What Is Eligible for SR&ED Tax Benefits?

The following operations are eligible for SR&ED tax benefits:

  • Basic Research is research undertaken for knowledge advancement without practical application or use.
  • Experimental Research: Researches are undertaken to gain technological improvements and improve existing procedures while creating new opportunities, devices, and services.
  • Applied Research: Unlike basic research, applied research is undertaken to improve one’s scientific knowledge but with a practical application.
  • Support Work: Involves research undertaken to boost the existing operations such as psychological research, data collection and testing, computer programming, mathematical analysis, design, and engineering research.

How to Become Eligible for SR&ED?

To determine the eligibility of a business for SR&ED, the Canada Revenue Agency undertakes the following investigations:

1. Technical Content

The purpose and objective of the business must be stated at its infancy to be specifically related to Scientific Research & Experimental Development and not any other field.

2. Technological Development

The research undertaken by a business must generate useful information that improves one’s knowledge of the existing technologies while creating new opportunities in the growing field.
Technological Uncertainty

Most of the time, the Canada Revenue Agency will ask for the levels of technological uncertainty to determine the eligibility of SR&ED. The business under study should be working towards reducing or eliminating uncertainties.

3. Business Documentation

The business must record all its essential documents, such as expenditures throughout the operations, which will then be provided to the Canada Revenue Agency for testing and evaluation.
CRA then uses the information to investigate how relevant the company is regarding SR&ED; the documentation can be done through file notes, minutes, meetings, test results, diaries, notebooks, or time tracking.

How to Apply for SR&ED

Research-related businesses in Canada do not automatically qualify for SR&ED; instead, you can apply for the program and wait for their eligibility testing to be completed. The process of applying for SR&ED involves the following:

  • Choosing a suitable research-based business to major in, from applied or experimental research.
  • Creating a Scientific Research &Experimental Development claim strategy to help the claim process.
    Gathering all the essential documents required for the SR&ED claim.
  • As per the Canada Revenue Agency’s requirement, businesses should prepare a technical report for all their SR&ED activities.
  • Sorting out all financial expenditures eligible for SR&ED.
  • Preparing the SR&ED tax schedules and filing them alongside your SR&ED claim and corporate tax return 18 months after the corporate financial year is completed.