Imagine you are applying for the SR&ED program for the first time. After a few months, you receive an invitation to a service called FTCAS, and the reviewers from the CRA want to talk with you and your company about the project you have submitted. Should you be worried? Does that mean your project is rejected? Let us find out what FTCAS is and go over everything you need to know about it.
What is FTCAS?
First-Time Claimant Advisory Service (FTCAS) is a program introduced by the CRA in 2014. Participation is mandatory after a claimant is selected for the service.
So, why the FTCAS is required during the SR&ED application?
The objective of FTCAS is to provide assistance and education for first-time SR&ED applicants so they can have a better understanding of what the CRA is looking for in SR&ED claims. Contents may cover,
- eligible work,
- allowable expenditures,
- supporting documentations.
Moreover, it can also offer advice if your company is planning for other Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Tax Incentive Program claims in the future. As a result, a good quality FTCAS is important to your first-time claim and does help to maximize your future claims of the SR&ED tax incentive program.
FTCAS used to be in-person but currently, due to COVID-19, all meetings have been moved online.
The Process of FTCAS
Since you cannot reject the FTCAS invitation, it is important to get familiar with the process in advance.
- Firstly, the reviewers will coordinate a suitable time for the meeting.
- An FTCAS meeting usually takes 2~4 hours, so remember to reserve the time.
- Secondly, the reviewers will go over the project during the meeting.
- Instead of diving deep into the related fields, you need to answer the questions as directly as possible to avoid any potential misunderstandings.
- Finally, the reviewers will create a report with their notes to summarize the meeting, offer insightful advice on your current project and suggest how to improve your future SR&ED claims.
- You will likely receive this report before the official Notice of Assessment (NOA).
FTCAS vs. SR&ED Review: What's the difference?
You DO NOT need to worry about FTCAS.
FTCAS for SR&ED
FTCAS means your application is pre-approved and after meeting, the process will continue in the right direction. The CRA will not make any determination of the eligibility of your claimed project during FTCAS.
The Review, however, is much more complicated. In addition to all the supporting documents you need to provide as requested, the CRA could approve or deny your SR&ED claim during the review process.
Keep the information in mind and don’t confuse FTCAS with Review. If the SR&ED review is required, to be better prepared, you may need to contact professional taxes consultant once the review requirement is received.
Prepare for FTCAS
Although FTCAS is a positive signal of your SR&ED claim, it is not 100% safe. If you and your team behave poorly during the meeting, your case is more likely to be reviewed next year. As a result, it is necessary to be well-prepared ahead of time.
On the one hand, you have to be extremely clear on your project including related tools, methods and expenditures.
On the other hand, you also need to understand what technical challenges or unknowns you may face in the future. If the reviewers need more information about your claims during the meeting, they will be sure to ask questions.
In a word, FTCAS is a free service provided by the CRA for new SR&ED applicants. Companies could receive assistance and advice on their current and future projects, so relax, be prepared rather than be worried. Good results of your SR&ED claim will come soon after FTCAS, if it is well prepared.
More Help on FTCAS for SR&ED Application
Usually, new SR&ED applicant may need more information about:
- eligibility review,
- list of required documents,
- the amount can be claimed,
- application process.
We are here to share and help on the basis of your businesses and projects. Remember, it is complimentary, which means FTCAS is a free service provided by the CRA to help business owners better understand the SR&ED program.