Mining for Gold: Spotting SR&ED Nuggets in Daily Operations

Strike the SR&ED tax credit mother lode! It’s a boon that’s a stone’s throw away, yet sifting SR&ED eligible activities from your daily operations can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. But worry not! We’ve got your back with tips on how to go Mining for your SR&ED Nuggets and eligible work within your company, helping you cash in on this pot of gold. 

Unraveling the SR&ED Eligibility Mystery

Before you don your detective hat and magnifying glass, you need to know what you’re looking for. The Canada Revenue Agency lays out three golden rules for SR&ED eligibility: 

  1. Technological innovation: Work that pioneers new technology or propels existing tech to new heights.
  2. Technological uncertainty: Work that grapples with enigmas not solvable through routine techniques or existing knowledge.
  3. Systematic inquiry: Work that necessitates structured investigation, including experimentation and analysis.

Armed with these clues, it’s time to start your SR&ED treasure hunt. 

Identifying SR&ED Eligible Work: 

Mining Your Projects

The first place to prospect? Your current and finished projects. Evaluate them with the SR&ED criteria in mind, zeroing in on projects that boast technological advancements, uncertainties, and an orderly approach to resolving these enigmas. 

Panning Through Supporting Activities

Remember, not every SR&ED nugget is hidden within a project. Sometimes, gems are nestled within supporting activities, like crafting prototypes, running experiments, or analyzing data. Examine your processes and tasks to find work that fits the SR&ED bill. 

Separating Fools’ Gold from the Real Deal

The art of differentiating between routine work and SR&ED eligible work is akin to separating pyrite (fool’s gold) from real gold. Routine tasks operate within the realm of known techniques and knowledge, while SR&ED work ventures into the realm of tech advancements, uncertainties, and systematic investigations. 

  Pose these questions when comparing routine and eligible work: 
  • Is the work creating fresh knowledge or advancing technology? 
  • Are the tasks grappling with uncertainties that routine techniques or existing knowledge can’t crack? 
  • Is the work part of a systematic quest involving testing, analysis, and experimentation? 
  • If you can answer “yes” to these questions, you’re likely holding SR&ED gold. 

Documenting SR&ED Nuggets

After you’ve unearthed the SR&ED eligible work, it’s time to meticulously catalog these treasures. These records are your treasure map when you claim your SR&ED and if CRA decides to visit for an audit. 

Maintain a Project Journal

Record everything about your projects—plans, objectives, progress—think of it as a diary of your company’s technological hero’s journey. These records are crucial in showcasing the technological advancements, uncertainties, and systematic investigations in your projects. 

Keep Tabs on Time and Expenses

It’s vital to log the time and resources spent on eligible work. Consider employee hours, contractor time, and related expenditures. Timesheets or similar tools can be your allies in this endeavor. 

Record Your Experiments

Details about your experiments, trials, and tests need to be documented, including your methodologies, results, and conclusions. This data is evidence of the systematic investigation involved in your SR&ED work. 

Store Your Treasure Maps Safely

Ensure your records are kept securely and easily accessible. This eases the SR&ED claim preparation process and allows you to respond swiftly to CRA audits or inquiries. 


Mining for your SR&ED Nuggets and eligible work within your company is like a treasure hunt. By mastering the art of distinguishing between routine and eligible work, you’re well on your way to reaping the benefits of the SR&ED tax credit program. So, ready to uncover the hidden gems in your daily operations? 


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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