Recent anecdotal evidence suggests that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is becoming increasingly detailed (and according to some, who disagree with them, occasionally irrational and unreasonable), in its approach to supporting documentation.
This is news?
Certain newspapers or columnists continue to create stories about the fact that reports are going to be published, by various official bodies, about the state or the future of the SR&ED program, about the rampant unhappiness of consultants across the industry, and the rampant unhappiness of the CRA with many of those same consultants and their clients. This is news? At best, it’s a teaser that someday soon, there may be news.
Let me recap – the government is giving away money to businesses, as a financial incentive to perform research, and some people are alleged to be acting unscrupulously to get their hands on some of it. Is that news?
If I filed a news story that there are mosquitos in the woods north of Winnipeg, would that be news? I don’t think anyone would be a bit surprised.
A cynic might ask if this current fuss is a deliberate and somewhat cynical strategy by CRA to kick up dust and raise the debate about the necessary level of documentation. What it seems to be doing, mainly, is stirring up old debates about whether CRA is an appropriate administrator for a tax incentive program… the idea being that providing incentives is a foreign and unfamiliar state of mind for a Crown agency that is historically more familiar with detection, collection and enforcement. So, on balance… probably not.
To be continued…