Can I Claim SR&ED if My Project Failed?

Yes, you can claim the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit in Canada even if your project failed.

At G6 Consulting Inc., we understand that the journey of research and development (R&D) is filled with uncertainties and challenges. As the market leaders in building and submitting SR&ED claims in Canada, we’re here to guide you through the process, even if your project didn’t go as planned.

Claiming SR&ED for Failed Projects

Failure is Part of R&D

At G6 Consulting Inc., we know that failure is a natural part of research and development (R&D). Not every project will succeed, and that’s okay. The SR&ED (Scientific Research and Experimental Development) program understands that failure happens when trying to make new scientific and technological advances. The program is designed to support R&D activities regardless of the project’s success, focusing instead on the efforts and methodologies employed.

In R&D, failure often leads to valuable insights and learning experiences that can guide future projects and contribute to overall progress. The SR&ED program rewards these efforts by allowing businesses to claim tax credits for eligible activities and expenses, even if the project did not achieve its intended goals. This recognition encourages companies to take risks and innovate without the fear of financial loss due to unsuccessful outcomes.

Key Focus Areas

When claiming SR&ED for failed projects, it is crucial to understand the key focus areas that determine eligibility. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) evaluates SR&ED claims based on the following criteria:

Systematic Investigation or Search

The SR&ED program requires that the R&D activities involve a systematic investigation or search. This means that the project should follow a structured and methodical approach to experimentation. It involves coming up with ideas, testing them through experiments, examining the outcomes, and making conclusions based on the data collected. The systematic approach ensures that the R&D efforts are organized and can be replicated or validated by others in the field.


  • Developing a series of prototypes to test a new material’s properties.
  • Conducting tests to see how well different algorithms perform.
  • Iteratively testing and refining a new manufacturing process to improve efficiency.

Aim to Achieve Technological or Scientific Advancement

The main goal of SR&ED projects is to make progress in science or technology. This involves seeking new knowledge or applying existing knowledge in novel ways to solve problems or improve processes. The advancement should go beyond routine engineering or standard practices and contribute to the broader body of scientific or technological knowledge.


  • Creating a new software algorithm that significantly enhances data processing speeds.
  • Developing a novel chemical compound with unique properties for industrial applications.
  • Innovating a new medical device that offers improved diagnostic capabilities.

Involvement of Scientific or Technological Uncertainty

A critical aspect of SR&ED eligibility is the presence of scientific or technological uncertainty. This refers to situations where the outcome of the R&D efforts is not known in advance and cannot be easily determined by a competent professional in the field. The project must involve challenges that require experimentation and investigation to overcome.


  • Exploring untested methods for improving battery efficiency, where the results are unpredictable.
  • Investigating new ways to integrate AI into existing systems, with uncertain compatibility outcomes.
  • Attempting to develop a new material with properties that are not fully understood or predictable.

Eligible Costs for SR&ED Claims


One of the biggest expenses in R&D projects is paying the salaries and wages of employees directly involved in research and development activities. The SR&ED program allows you to claim these expenses as follows:

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Direct Involvement: Employees whose work directly contributes to the SR&ED project are eligible. This includes researchers, engineers, technical staff, and support personnel who are engaged in experimentation, data analysis, design, and development tasks.
  • Proportion of Time: You can claim the proportion of wages that corresponds to the time these employees spend on SR&ED activities. Detailed timesheets or project logs can help document the time allocation.


Materials used or consumed during the R&D process are another category of eligible expenses. This includes any raw materials, supplies, or prototypes that are integral to the experimentation and development work.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Consumed in R&D: Materials that are used up or transformed in the process of carrying out SR&ED activities are eligible. This includes items that are integral to the experiments and cannot be reused.
  • Purchased for SR&ED: The materials must be purchased specifically for the SR&ED project. General supplies that are not directly tied to the R&D activities may not be eligible.

Overhead and Third-Party Payments

In addition to wages and materials, other costs related to the R&D activities can also be claimed. These include overhead expenses and payments to third-party contractors or consultants.

Overhead Expenses:

  • Indirect Costs: Overhead expenses related to the SR&ED activities include costs that are not directly tied to specific experiments but are necessary for the overall R&D process. This can include utilities, rent for the R&D facility, and general office supplies.
  • Simplified Method: The CRA allows a simplified method for calculating overhead costs, where a specified percentage of eligible wages is applied as an overhead expense, reducing the administrative burden of detailed tracking.

Third-Party Payments:

  • Contractors and Consultants: Payments made to external contractors or consultants who provide specialized expertise or services for the SR&ED project are eligible. This includes consulting fees, subcontracted R&D work, and payments for specialized testing or analysis.
  • Documentation: It’s essential to have detailed contracts and invoices that specify the nature of the work performed and its relevance to the SR&ED activities.

CRA Review Process

What to Expect

When you submit an SR&ED (Scientific Research and Experimental Development) claim, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) may review it to verify eligibility. This review involves examining your documentation and may include questions or requests for additional information. In some cases, the CRA might request a site visit to observe the R&D activities firsthand.

Preparing for a Review

To prepare for a CRA review:

  • Thorough Documentation: Maintain detailed and well-organized records, including project plans, experimental data, and financial records.
  • Clear Objectives: Be ready to explain the scientific or technological advancements pursued and the uncertainties encountered.
  • Systematic Approach: Provide clear evidence of the systematic approach taken during the R&D activities.
  • Financial Records: Ensure all expenses are supported by invoices, receipts, contracts, and timesheets.
  • Staff Preparation: Prepare key personnel to discuss their roles and the work conducted during a potential site visit.


At G6 Consulting Inc., we believe that innovation is built on both successes and failures. The SR&ED program is designed to support your R&D efforts, regardless of the outcome. If your project faced challenges and didn’t achieve the desired results, you can still claim SR&ED credits as long as the activities meet the program’s criteria.

Navigating the SR&ED claim process can be complex, but you don’t have to do it alone. G6 Consulting Inc. specializes in building and submitting successful SR&ED claims. Our team of experts is here to guide you every step of the way, ensuring you maximize your eligible credits.

Ready to make your SR&ED claim? Contact G6 Consulting Inc. for professional advice and tailored guidance to help you secure the benefits you deserve. Visit our website or call us right now for more information. 

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Can I Claim SR&ED if My Project Failed?
Can I Claim SR&ED if My Project Failed?