No unsuccessful projects?

It’s something of a concern that the current SR&ED claim form (T661-13, line 246) asks for a report of advancements achieved, without the usual reassurances that success is not a criterion for SR&ED. As well, the question is worded to ask only about advances made during the current claim period, whereas claimants used to be advised that for multi-year projects advancement is a characteristic of the project as a whole, and does not have to be shown in each individual year.

The current definition of advancement, in CRA’s Glossary and in the Eligibility paper (2.1.4), helps shed some light on CRA’s intentions here. It seems that knowledge generation is to be regarded as the primary purpose of technological as well as scientific advancement, with the old-fashioned notion of technological advance - actually getting some new piece of technology to work - now of secondary importance. With that interpretation, failure to make the technology work is just another learning opportunity (“rejection of the hypothesis”), so effectively there are no unsuccessful projects. This is an important indication of the information that needs to be provided at this point.

There’s also a caveat: it’s sad but true that interpretations of the rules by individual RTAs are not always those intended by SR&ED HQ. It will be unfortunate if some reviewers choose to make material success during the claim period a criterion for SR&ED.