We had the privilege last week to offer a new webinar in partnership with AInBC, The Artificial Intelligence network of British Columbia.
This webinar, specially elaborated for the AI companies, highlights the best practices and the common mistakes to be avoided in order to optimize your SR&ED claims. It also explores the impact of Covid-19 and government emergency grants on your claimed amounts.
if you want to view this presentation, you can find it here.
Continuing with our series of articles on government emergency measures, we will now continue by talking about non-subsidy COVID-19-related aid programs. Once again, we will look at the likely impact of any such aid on your future Scientific Development and Experimental Development (SR&ED) and E-Business (CDAE in French for crédit d’impôt aux Affaires Électroniques) tax credit claims.
As already recommended previously, it is important to keep any emergency aid documents you will receive safe and handy. They will be needed when calculating future SR&ED and E-Business tax credits and could be requested by tax authorities in the event of an audit.
Emergency aid resulting in reduction of time spent on eligible activities
Laid-off employees who earned wages totalling at least $5,000 over the last 12 months and who did not receive any income for a consecutive period of 14 days due to COVID-19 can receive the CERB. This benefit provides $500 per week for a maximum of 16 weeks. What this means for the employer is that employees receiving this benefit are no longer in the company’s payroll.
The work sharing (WS) program is designed to help employers and employees avoid lay-offs when the company is experiencing a temporary slump in its business operations. The benefit provides employment insurance (EI) to eligible employees who agree to a reduction in their normal working hours and to share work with their colleagues as the company recovers. Self-employed workers and shareholders holding more than 40% of voting shares are ineligible.
To receive this aid, the targeted employees must consent to a 10% to 60% reduction in their working hours. The employer will continue to pay the employees for the regular hours worked. EI fills the gap by paying such employees directly for the hours not worked. These direct payments are generally equal to 55% of the employees’ weekly wage and can go up to a maximum of $573.
To apply for the program, the employer needs to complete the appropriate forms available on the Service Canada website and submit them by e-mail. The e-mail address differs according to the province in which the company is located. Employers are requested to submit their application 10 calendar days before their requested program start date. Simplified measures implemented by Service Canada during the crisis should reduce the processing period to 10 calendar days. Application forms and relevant documents must be preserved carefully for future reference.
Conclusion: These two programs will have an impact on eligible SR&ED activities, which will either see a drop in volume or could be completely put on hold. As companies emerge from the crisis, they will therefore be faced with two possible scenarios. SR&ED activities may recover at a pace exceeding the normal growth rate during regular periods, with minimum impacts on credits, or conversely, such activities may lag significantly, which may in turn have a major negative impact on credits. In any case, it is crucial that any effort invested in eligible SR&ED activities be properly documented.
Temporary lay-offs and the work sharing program greatly affect the E-Business tax credit and its eligibility criteria (which require a minimum of 6 employees, 40 weeks of employment and 26 working hours per week). Investissement Québec has not yet made any official pronouncement on the matter, but our experience tells us that it could be relatively relaxed if everything is well documented. We will communicate details as soon as we have an official response on the issue.
It should further be noted that your company could be eligible for the work sharing program as well as the two subsidies covered in our previous publications (CEWS and 10% temporary subsidy). If that is the case, the CEWS shall be reduced by the amounts paid or reimbursed under the 10% temporary wage subsidy and the work sharing program for the same period.
Emergency aid potentially affecting your E-Business claim
The Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale du Québec has set up the above program, which enables reimbursement of 100% of expenses for eligible employee training and competency improvement activities totalling $100,000 or less and 50% of those between $100,000 and $500,000. The program will remain in effect for the duration of the crisis. The program’s eligibility criteria are expansive, which means many companies can apply for it.
Reimbursable expenses include wages of employees in training up to $25/h, professional trainers, and on-line course registration fees up to $150/h, or the cost of training equipment and supplies. To apply for this aid, contact your Local Employment Centre.
If your company is receiving government subsidies (CEWS and 10% subsidy), the reimbursement will not be up to 100%, but 25 or 90%, depending on the subsidy received.
This program deals with training, which is an ineligible activity under the E-Business tax credit. As a reminder, employees must spend more than 75% of their time on eligible activities to maintain eligibility for the credit. Under this aid, employees could be excluded from the credit if they spend too much time in training.
Again, Investissement Québec has not announced a decision on the matter. Our advice remains the same for such situations: retain proper documentation in order to prove and support any action taken, if needed. We will communicate any details as soon as we have an official response on the issue from Investissement Québec.
Since we are currently living through very exceptional and fluid conditions, the programs discussed and information provided in this article could change at any time. Eligibility criteria and approved expenses are equally likely to change.
We ask you to rest assured that Emergex SR&ED Subsidies is closely monitoring the situation and is always on top of any new information put out by the governments that could have a significant impact on your claims. We remain available to support you and secure the highest possible returns in your future tax credit claims, considering any potential emergency aid obtained and the unique situation your business will face.
As experts in financing technology companies, Emergex SR&ED Consultants closely monitors ongoing government announcements concerning business subsidies. In a previous article, we had mentioned the different actions taken by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) regarding the processing time of your current Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) and E-Business (CDAE in French) tax credit claims. It is now Revenu Quebec who is changing its processing delays for current claims.
In order to increase the cash flow of businesses, the provincial agency is speeding up the payment of refundable credits. A portion of the SR&ED and E-Business tax credits is thus paid in a very short time without going through the usual examinations. The balance will be paid at a later date after the necessary reviews. So, do not be surprised if you receive a lower-than-expected refund.
Based on information provided to our team, Revenu Quebec pays an initial amount corresponding to 80% of the total amount of refundable credits requested while reserving the right to review the claim at a later date. This allows, in some cases, to accelerate the payment of a portion of the credits by up to five months (i.e. 30 days instead of the usual 180 days).
Our recommendations therefore stay the same. Do not delay the filing of your SR&ED and E-Business claims. You can receive your refunds very quickly, either from the CRA or Revenu Quebec.
As the situation we are experiencing is exceptional and constantly evolving, the information contained in this article may be subject to change. Emergex SR&ED Consultants is closely monitoring the situation and staying apprised of any new information that could significantly impact your claims. We remain at your disposal during this crisis and are ready to answer any questions you may have.
The Government of Canada’s emergency support plan for businesses facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis is quite generous and will benefit a large number of businesses.
We would like to share our first impressions about these government subsidies with our clients, especially as concerns any likely impact the subsidies may have on your future Scientific Development and Experimental Development (SR&ED) and E-Business (CDAE in French for crédit d’impôt aux Affaires Électroniques) tax credit claims. Normally, such subsidies are excluded from tax credit calculations, given that the same salary expenditure cannot be funded by the public sector twice (no “double dipping”, to use this expression popularized by the TV show, Seinfeld).
We therefore believe that this guideline should always be followed when calculating your future tax credits. However, given that exceptional situations call for exceptional emergency measures, a question therefore arises: will the government not also make an exception to this rule in the near future? This is one of several questions we are closely monitoring from the government’s regular announcements.
Before delving too deep into the various subsidies available, we recommend that you keep any emergency aid documents you will receive safe and handy. They will be needed when calculating future SR&ED and CDAE tax credits and could be requested by tax authorities in the event of an audit.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
Under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), eligible employers can request a wage subsidy of 75%, with a maximum weekly limit of $847. Granted for a maximum period of 24 weeks and retroactive from March 15, 2020, this subsidy is aimed at preventing job losses. Eligible employers can apply for the CEWS through the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Business Account portal from April 27 to October 2020.
Eligibility for this program is subject to demonstrable income loss. Depending on the application and reference times, a drop in revenue due to COVID-19 must be shown of at least 15% in March 2020 and at least 30% subsequently. As indicated by the Finance Minister last April 11, processing timelines could range between 3 and 10 days once the application is submitted.
In addition to the 75% wage subsidy, employers are also entitled to claim the total refund of some employment insurance payments and contributions to the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan for eligible employees on paid leave. This reimbursement can be requested concurrently with the CEWS claim for any period during which workers are eligible for paid leave.
If you wish to apply for the CEWS as soon as it opens, but have not yet created a My Business Account, you are advised to create one as soon as possible. This tool has become essential.
10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers
The 10% temporary wage subsidy is a three-month measure (from March 18 to June 19, 2020) enabling eligible employers to reduce payroll deductions payable to the CRA. This grant amounts to 10% of the wage paid for the period cited above, with a maximum of $1,375 per eligible employee and $25,000 per employer. Once the 10% calculation is made, the employer can directly deduct this sum from federal tax deduction remittances at the usual moment for their payment.
However, to be eligible for this subsidy, a very important criterion must be met. A for-profit corporation must be a Canadian-controlled private corporation (CCPC) with a business limit greater than zero over the most recent tax year ending March 18, 2020.
Conclusion: The two subsidies above are government aid and should be subject to the usual tax credit processing. Therefore, the wage subsidy paid to each employee eligible to the SR&ED tax credit should be deducted from the eligible wage when calculating the tax credit at a rate proportional to the time spent on SR&ED activities. The calculation of general costs (commonly known as proxy) remains unchanged since the aid received is deducted only after this calculation.
The overall impact on the tax credit amount could be less than expected. In effect, the CEWS aid carries a limit of $847 per week. This means that for all employees with an annual wage of more than $58,000, only this weekly $847 will be paid. For example, for a resource with up to a 40% SR&ED involvement and an annual wage of over $58,000, the weekly SR&ED deduction shall be $339.
For the E-Business, the entire subsidy received for each employee that will need to be deducted from their wages. For the credit calculation, the eligible wage limit then applies and remains unchanged.
Note further that your company may be eligible for the two subsidies as well as the Work-Sharing Program (to be discussed in our next article). If that is the case, the CEWS will be reduced by the amounts paid or refunded under the 10% temporary wage subsidy and the work-sharing program for the same period. We therefore believe that if a business is eligible for the CEWS, the 10% temporary subsidy would no longer be of interest.
Since current conditions are very exceptional and fluid, the subsidies discussed and information provided in this article could change at any time. Eligibility criteria and subsidy rates are equally liable to change.
Rest assured that Emergex SR&ED Subsidies is closely monitoring the situation and is always on top of any new information put out by the governments that could have a significant impact on your claims. We remain available to support you and secure the highest possible returns in your future tax credit claims, considering any potential emergency aid obtained and the unique situation your business will face.
These are undoubtedly challenging times for many companies, and we would like to provide our clients with our preliminary observations regarding the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on your existing Scientific Development and Experimental Development (SR&ED) and E-Business (CDAE in French) tax credit claims. As experts in financing technology companies, Emergex SR&ED Subsidies closely monitors ongoing government releases concerning business subsidies.
For starters, regarding delays in the processing of existing applications, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has clearly indicated that the SR&ED program continues to be a priority. To ensure that the highest levels of support are provided to businesses that are neither publicly nor foreign-owned, i.e., Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPC), processing of their refundable tax credits will be prioritized. For now, no new reviews or audits will be conducted, and those already in progress will be finalized as soon as possible to ensure that businesses receive their credits faster. Nevertheless, applications that are approved during this period could subsequently be reviewed or audited for a posteriori eligibility confirmation.
As for taxpayers, even though rules have been relaxed to allow the deferral of tax payments, the deadlines for SR&ED and E-Business claims remain unchanged. Finally, the onsite visit normally undertaken by Investissement Québec (IQ) following the first E-Business application will now only take place when subsequent claims are made. As a relief measure, IQ will issue tax credit eligibility certificates without the payment of fees which are postponed to a future unspecified date. Finally, Revenu Québec has not announced any changes in how it processes credit applications.
The following are some recommendations we believe you should be following right now:
- In the present context, you must not delay filing your SR&ED and E-Business claims! The sooner you file after the end of your financial year, the faster you will receive your refunds. Take advantage of the slowdown in activities to accelerate your cash inflows and boost your working capital.
- To facilitate communications with the CRA, we recommend that you create an account at My Business Account as soon as possible. It takes about ten days to complete the account creation process, during which you will receive a code by mail. You will need it for effective communication with the CRA in case of future audits or to apply for The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. We will soon be putting out an article with details of this program, so watch for our email blasts!
- If your business is applying for one or more government aids, we invite you to hold on to all relevant documents, as they will be needed when calculating future SR&ED and E-Business tax credits, and could be requested by tax authorities in the event of an audit. This subject will also be covered in full in a future article we will be putting out.
Finally, since we are currently living through very exceptional and fluid conditions, the information provided in this article could change at any time. We ask you nevertheless to rest assured that Emergex SR&ED Subsidies is closely monitoring the situation and will always be on top of any new information put out by the governments that could have a significant impact on your claims. We remain at your disposal during this crisis and are ready to answer any questions you may have.
Dear Clients and Partners,
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, rest assured that Emergex SR&ED Consultants gives priority to the health of its employees, customers and partners.
Despite this, Emergex remains 100% operational. We are committed to working with you to meet the milestones and deadlines planned with our clients as well as the limit dates prescribed by governments, always with the quality of deliverables to which you have been accustomed. To achieve this, we offer the following procedures and solutions:
- With your collaboration, we will respect the technical interview dates and the delivery deadlines for your claims. We hope to prevent everyone from postponing work until later, thereby creating a backlog and additional stress in the months to come. Indeed, the crisis could last a while and we should not count on the postponement by the governments of the deadlines for tax credit claims…
- For any meeting or technical interview already scheduled with an Emergex employee, we will contact you the day before or the same day to confirm that you have no last-minute changes. We offer you alternatives in order to carry out your project for claiming tax credits or subsidies:
- Hold a videoconference with our Zoom service licence https://zoom.us, which allows to share our screens to facilitate discussions and visual exchanges with our contacts
- Make a conference call to one or more parties using one of our 3 “virtual meeting rooms” which offer excellent audio quality
- Note that due to the rules of social distancing also in effect for government employees, claims requiring meetings with the Canada Revenue Agency or Investissement Québec are subject to postponements beyond our control.
- All Emergex employees are already equipped and familiar with working remotely from home, including holding videoconferences and teleconferences.
- In all cases, Emergex and its employees will do their part and apply the recommendations communicated by the public health authorities.
Hopefully, the entire population will continue to participate in the health guidelines issued to curb the spread of COVID-19. This fight can only be won with the contribution of all the actors and stakeholders in Quebec and Canadian society.
CEO and founder of Emergex SR&ED Consultants
Last February 3, the Quebec government boosted Investissement Québec’s responsibilities and powers, expanding its mandate according to three main priorities:
- Greater and more efficient and more effective local presence
- Enhanced international coordination
- Greater assumption of financial risks
This new vision will be implemented over the coming months and will cover all regions of Quebec, and will see various entities brought under a single umbrella. At the end of this transition period, Investissement Québec will have incorporated the MEI (Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation), the CRIQ (Centre de recherche industrielle du Québec) and Export Québec into a single entity. At the end of the change period, all the programs currently handled by each of these organizations shall be administered by Investissement Québec.
The most significant changes will be seen in the regions, where Investissement Québec will become the single point of contact for companies seeking funding. This will optimize processes and give companies easier access to different forms of assistance to help them develop and grow.
At the international level, the amalgamation with Export Québec will attract greater foreign investment and enhance both the province’s image and its exports through a better coordination of all community stakeholders.
Nationally, Investissement Québec will be taking on greater financial risks as it undertakes major forward-looking projects in a bid to speed up investments and thus increase the productivity of Quebec companies.
As for us here at Emergex SR&ED Subsidies, as well as for out clients, no significant changes are currently anticipated. No changes have been made to the popular Tax Credit for the Development of E-Business (CDAE). The same goes for the Tax Credit for the Production of Multimedia Titles (CTMM). We are still preparing claims under these programs exactly as we have been doing for the CDAE since it came into being in 2008, and for the CTMM, since 2003, that is, for 17 years!
To read more about the enhanced role of Investissement Québec, see the official press release.
Emergex SR&ED Consultants is always on the lookout for new sources of funding from governments. As the new decade starts, we have good news for you!
Indeed, the government organization Prompt Québec makes two specific grant programs available to companies in the information and communication technologies (ICT) industry, namely:
Quebec Cybersecurity Innovation Program
If your company operates in the field of cybersecurity, the Quebec Cybersecurity Innovation Program can grant you up to 25% of the budget of your cybersecurity innovation project in the form of non- refundable grants. You could also apply to this program for the cybersecurity phase of your software development. Application to this grant is open until March 18, 2020. In addition, a webinar given by Prompt discussing the program in detail is scheduled on January 22nd. For more information, please contact the program coordinator, Mr. Nicolas Maignien at 514-875-0032 #20 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Prompt AI – Innovation Program
The Prompt AI – Innovation Program (only available in French) funds a portion of expenditures for Artificial Intelligence (AI) projects. This financial assistance is usually provided by means of non-refundable grants of up to $150,000 per company involved in a collaborative innovation project. Companies may file an application until January 31, 2020. For any questions about this program, please contact Mrs. Sourour Ben Cheikh at 514-915-6334 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadlines for both programs may seem very short, but the team at Prompt will assist you throughout the application process.
If you are interested in one of these two grants and think you can qualify, do not hesitate to contact the program manager at Prompt, indicating that they have been referred to you by Emergex RSDE.
For any other tax credit, grant or government assistance, Emergex remains your partner of choice! We can accompany you both in (1) the selection process of the different programs that best meet your needs and (2) attaining the best possible return on investment by combining these programs.
We are proud of our clients’ achievements! Emergex successfully claimed the SR&ED tax credits for Mariner Endosurgery in the last few years, enabling them to stretch their investment dollars and accelerate their research and development efforts in the medical field.
Mariner Endosurgery Wins FDA Clearance for Ground-breaking Augmented Reality Surgical System LaparoGuard
Washington, DC, Dec. 13, 2018 (Globe Newswire) — Following months of review, the US Food and Drug Administration cleared Mariner Endosurgery’s LaparoGuard Augmented Surgical Navigation system for use in US operating rooms. Hospitals and surgical facilities will now be able to incorporate this game-changing surgical navigation system from Mariner, the Canadian medical device company innovating in advanced surgical visualization and laparoscopic instrumentation.
LaparoGuard is an augmented surgical navigation system that enables surgeons to annotate areas of 3D safety zones during minimally invasive procedures, to aid them in guiding their tools and to inform them in their surgical approach. Similar to the heads-up display of a fighter jet, LaparoGuard allows surgeons to annotate areas of risk, and then see 3D renderings of surgeon-defined safety zones as a real-time image overlay, without looking at a separate screen. This information is integrated into the operating room’s conventional visualization equipment and provides surgeons with additional spatial awareness information. In addition, LaparoGuard provides continuous tracking of multiple tools throughout a procedure for real-time location updates within the abdominal cavity.
LaparoGuard enables a surgeon to:
- Annotate areas of risk intraoperatively and display surgeon-specific safe zones to enable optimal tool path and spatial awareness during laparoscopic cases.
- Select a mix of audiovisual augmented reality on both primary and secondary surgical monitors, without the use of a conventional AR headset.
- Intuitive real-time feedback systems to inform the surgical team without adding distraction or removing focus from the intended surgical site, while providing advanced visualization.
- Integrate novel technology into existing clinical workflows and conventional laparoscopic tower equipment.
“LaparoGuard empowers surgeons with the latest in advanced visualization, augmented reality and spatial awareness tools for minimally invasive procedures,” explained Mitch Wilson, President of Mariner Endosurgery. “Our upcoming pipeline of surgical visualization and advanced laparoscopic instrumentation will further support LaparoGuard and our company thesis of putting the right innovation, at the right time, in surgeons’ hands. I am proud of our team’s efforts as we look forward to seeing LaparoGuard successfully deployed in operating rooms across the United States.”
Source: New navigation system brings surgeons unprecedented 3D spatial awareness during minimally invasive abdominal procedures
Mariner Endosurgery Inc. is a Hamilton-based company that develops and commercializes innovative computer-assisted medical devices for future-facing laparoscopic surgeries. Their flagship product LaparoGuard is a novel soft-tissue surgical navigation platform that augments visualization and is designed to enhance the safety profile to assist surgeons in delivering a superior quality of care to their patients.
Emergex SR&ED Consultants is a consulting firm specialized in financing technology companies through claims of Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) and E‑Business (CDAE) tax credits, the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) grant and other government aids. For 20 years, Emergex has been helping its clients receive hundreds of millions of dollars in government tax credits and grants.
Our team of industry experts (PhD, MSc, BSc, MBA, PMP, engineers, computer scientists, accountants and tax experts) have mastered the specific technologies of each industry and the related legislation to support our clients from A to Z in the claim process.
Emergex is proud to contribute to Mariner Endosurgery’s continued success!
On November 14, 2018, Pierre Savignac, CEO of Emergex SR&ED Consultants gave a webinar entitled “How to prevent, or else survive, an audit of your SR&ED tax credits by the CRA ?” in partnership with Inno-centre. The recording of this webinar is available below: