How to Document Your SR&ED Claim Like a CPA

In order to document your SR&ED claim like a CPA it helps to know one. Or have one as your boss. I had the opportunity to sit down with our Technical Lead and CEO Logan Hanson to discuss some of the ins and outs of documentation as they relate to your Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) claim. As you can imagine it’s a big topic! I’m going to give a brief overview of some of the most impactful documentation and then in a series of follow-up posts we will break each section down individually and provide templates where possible.


So this isn’t a specific item, but it is the most important one. If you have any documentation that speaks to the timeline of events as you move from Technological Uncertainty, to Systematic Investigation and eventually to Technological Advancement, you are going to clearly illustrate to the CRA that you have a valid claim. 


Meetings are great because they typically have minutes, names, dates and action items. If your meetings don’t involve minutes, or your minutes don’t involve these listed things, they should.


One of the top 2 reasons SR&ED claims are denied or altered are lack of, or the complete absence of time sheets. Software, spreadsheets, time cards or good old fashioned pen and paper. Because you are consistent with your system and you have details, you will be in better shape than most claimants. There are a variety of places you can find solutions for time sheets, here is a great place to start.

CPA Technical Reports & DOCUMENTATION

This is the other main reason SR&ED claims are denied or altered. Assuming you have a good case for SR&ED, your technical report only need answer 3 questions: 1) At the start of the year what technological challenges did ABC corp face? 2) What steps did ABC corp take to progress through a systematic investigation to overcome the identified challenges? 3) At the end of the year what was the state of the technology required to overcome the identified challenges? 


Emails are great. Dates, names and lots of longer form discussion detailing various challenges and how they are being overcome.  

Internal Ticket System

Do you have an internal system where you document all of your project challenges? If you do these can be excellent assuming there is a decent amount of detail and the systems include names and dates.

Instant Messaging Systems & Code Repositories:

Another potential source of incredible information are things like Teams, Slack, Jira, GitHub or your internal project management system. Anything that speaks to your timeline, provides details of a challenge, investigation or advancement can be useful for your SR&ED claim. 


If you want to document your SR&ED claim like a CPA you need to focus on your timeline. What is the period of your claim? Make sure all your receipts, recorded activities, documented events, time sheets and invoices all relate to the correct period. Do all the numbers on your financial report have in period evidence (or contemporaneous as the CRA likes to say) to back them up? Ensure you have an appropriate amount of support work for the size of your claim. Remember, the CRA just wants to understand your SR&ED claim and how you progressed through the 3 qualifying criteria. As a result you will get your best chance at an unaltered claim with a quick turnaround. Need more? Check out our full guide here.



Do you have a SRED question? Planning for the future or perhaps you want to know how much your claim might be? Don’t worry, our CPA is always ready to answer any question. Get a SRED expert in your corner.

Have a question? We’d love to help. If you don’t have a SR&ED expert in your corner, doesn’t it make sense to have one?

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