First-Time Claimant Advisory Service

The First-Time Claimant Advisory Service (FTCAS) is a free in-person service that provides first-time scientific research and experimental development (SR&ED) claimants with an opportunity to meet with local Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) SR&ED staff, at their place of business, to gain a better understanding of the SR&ED Program. During these visits the SR&ED reviewers will provide businesses with advice on:

  • how to identify potential eligible work in the context of their business;
  • how to identify allowable expenditures;
  • the types of documentation and other evidence that could support a claim; and
  • how to complete and file their future SR&ED claims.

The main focus of the FTCAS is to educate claimants in terms of eligibility and documentation requirements, and increase predictability in subsequent claims. The service is mandatory for all selected claimants contacted by the CRA. The FTCAS will ensure that first‑time claimants have access to all of the information they need to facilitate filing their SR&ED tax incentive claim. If you are a first-time SR&ED claimant selected to receive the FTCAS, you will be notified by letter from a local CRA office. You will then be contacted by a CRA official who will arrange a convenient time for the visit. The visit will take no more than half a day.

During this visit, the CRA officials will:

  • conduct an educational session tailored to your business, which will give you information about the SR&ED Program; and
  • discuss your current project(s) and SR&ED work to better understand your business and the type of work and expenditures claimed.

After the visit, you will receive a report outlining what was discussed during the visit and recommendations on improving future claims, if any. Should a refund be expected as a result of filing a claim, it will be processed after the site visit.

It is important to note that the FTCAS is not a review or an audit and the CRA staff will not make any determination of the eligibility of work or expenditures claimed. This service is provided to first-time claimants to ensure you have all the information necessary to successfully file your next SR&ED claim.

If you have filed your first SR&ED claim and you have received a letter indicating that it has been accepted as filed without a review, and you wish to obtain more information about FTCAS, please contact your local CRA tax services office.

If you wish to obtain assistance before filing your claim, another service such as the Pre-Claim Project Review (PCPR) may be more appropriate for you.

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