For years, SR&ED claimants have been haunted by the concept of standard practice. They had to prove that what they did was not standard practice; often, they had to define what exactly standard practice was, and if that was gray-zone, then it could spell trouble for a claim under review. The trouble was, the CRA was free to interpret standard practice as “methods known to you or others in your industry”, but what if others in your industry know it as proprietary information which they keep secret? And over the years, the CRA sought to tighten this interpretation further, sometimes taking it as far as “experimentation with methods known to you”. At the same time, claimants need to have expertise in the field for a claim to be eligible, and that tends to result in some methods of testing which claimants know to try, even if they don’t know that these methods will work.
An official CRA source has made a credible claim that the words “standard practice” will be removed from the T661 starting October 31, 2015. It’s fitting that a term that produced only nightmares for claimants should be banished from the forms close to Halloween.
Another likely change will be the addition of the words “achievements attempted” to the description of box 246 on the T661. This is a footnote by comparison, because it simply formalizes what was already known by SR&ED experts: your project does not have to become a production-level success, as long as there is scientific knowledge gained as a result of your efforts.