SR&ED and the Administrative Review

On May 30, the CRA announced a new form, known as the RC532 with an eye towards improving the SR&ED administrative review process. The CRA hopes that this form with help monitor and track SR&ED reviews (for the purpose of training and policy clarification), making reviews more consistent.

The form itself is straightforward and does make the filing a request for an administrative review somewhat simpler. The claimant is now (1) asked to explain the nature of the concern, (2) whether these concerns were brought to the attention of the reviewer and (3) were the concerns brought to the attention of the manager. These three questions (which have always existed) formalize the process a claimant must go through in order to apply for an administrative review.

It remains to see how effective this form will be in dealing with the frustrations of the claimant. The criteria for an administrative review has not changed, nor has a timeline been established by which these matters will be addressed, or when any changes will be affected. It is also not clear how the information in these forms is going to be used by the CRA to improves its internal processes.

More importantly, it is important to understand that the SR&ED administrative review is about due process and not eligibility. This was the case before the RC532 existed, and is still the case today. Even though there is a checkbox on the RC532 with eligibility listed as a reason to request a review, according to the CRA’s Guidelines for resolving claimant’s SR&ED concerns, the administrative review is about claimant being given due process, not about disagreements over eligbility. The administrative review is about whether or not financial and technical reviewers followed their policies and procedures in evaluating a claim. Given that this is the objective of an administrative review, it is unlikely that any claim will be reopened due to disagreements about eligibility.

If you are considering filing an RC532 to request an administrative review for a claim submitted, and would like a free, no-obligation second opinion on your chances of success on an appeal, feel free to contact us.