Program shrinkage, announced and unannounced.

The new “Guide to Form T661” (T4088 Rev.14) is unusual in that there’s no new version of Form T661 itself. The current form is still T661-13e.pdf, which was issued 15 months ago. The revisions to the Guide are largely those needed to accomodate the last of the financial changes that were announced for the program in 2012. The reductions in rates and the transition to eliminate capital expenditures are now complete. 

On the technical side, there are a few minor changes in wording which seem intended to improve clarity. But there’s also a small change that could affect eligibility - in the instructions regarding technology base, for line 242, the phrase “that was available to you” has been quietly dropped. It’s now simply “indicate the existing technology base or level, or the existing body of scientific knowledge”. It seems those long discussions about ’business context’ have just been declared moot.

Also significant is something that hasn’t been changed. The current Form T661 asks about advancements during the claim period, whereas previously advancement was a question for the project as a whole, not each individual year. CRA haven’t taken the opportunity, with this new Guide, to correct that impression, so it seems this is now an additional requirement. 

While the financial reductions to the program are clearly spelled out, these restrictions in the scope of eligibility have the potential for equally significant impact.