SR&ED Tax clip: 2012 Provincial and territorial R&D tax credits – Updated for Quebec's November 20, 2012 budget (March 12, 2013)

Canada offers one of the most favourable packages of R&D tax incentives among the major industrialized countries. In addition to the federal incentives, taxpayers carrying on R&D can also benefit from provincial or territorial tax credits. To help individuals and corporations maximize their potential R&D tax incentives, a summary of the rules for provincial and territorial R&D tax credits follows.

All R&D tax credits are available to corporations. In Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and the Yukon, individuals can also claim the credits. The credits can be fully claimed against a taxpayer's provincial or territorial income tax.

2012 provincial and territorial R&D tax credit changes

  • Alberta — enhanced for taxation years ending after March 31, 2012 (see footnote 1).
  • Quebec — enhanced for biopharmaceutical corporations that incur R&D expenditures after November 20, 2012, and before January 1, 2018 (see footnote 11); and revised for R&D tax credits received after November 20, 2012, that relate to R&D expenditures incurred for taxation years starting after November 20, 2012 (see footnote 15).
  • Saskatchewan — revised for R&D expenditures incurred after March 31, 2012 (see footnote 16).
  For R&D expenditures incurred Rate Refundable? Carry back Carry forward
After Before

Alberta

Dec. 31/2008 n/a 10% [1] Yes [3] n/a

British Columbia

Qualifying CCPCs Aug 31/1999 Sep. 1/2014
[2]
Corporations in general No 3 yrs 10 yrs [5]

Manitoba

Mar. 8/2005 n/a 20% Yes/No [4]
Mar. 11/1992 Mar. 9/2005 15%

New Brunswick

Dec. 31/2002 n/a 15% Yes n/a
Feb. 25/1994 Jan. 1/2003 10% No 3 yrs 7 yrs

Newfoundland and Labrador

Dec. 31/1995 n/a 15% Yes n/a

Northwest Territories

No territorial R&D tax incentives

Nova Scotia

Tax years ending
Dec. 31/1993
n/a 15% Yes n/a
Dec. 31/1983 Tax years ending
Jan. 1/1994
10% No 3 yrs 7 yrs

Nunavut

No territorial R&D tax incentives

Ontario

Innovation tax credit (OITC) Tax years ending  May 4/1999 [6] n/a 10% [6] Yes n/a
Business research institute tax credit (OBRI) May 6/1997 20% [7]
R&D tax credit
(ORDTC) [8]
Tax years ending Dec. 31/2008 4.5% No 3 yrs
[8]
20 yrs

Prince Edward Island

No provincial R&D tax incentives

Quebec

R&D wage tax credit April 21/2005 n/a 17.5% or 37.5% [10] Yes n/a
June 12/2003 April 22, 2005 17.5% or 35% [10]
Tax years beginning
May 9/1996 [9]
June 13/2003 20% or 40%
[10] [11]
University, public research centre and research consortium tax credit [13] June 12/2003 n/a 35%  [12]
April 30/1987 June 13/2003 40%  [12]
Tax credit on dues and fees paid to a research consortium [13] May 14/1992 June 13/2003 40%
Private partnership tax credit [13] March 23/2006 n/a 35%
Pre-competitive tax
credit [13]
June 12/2003 March 24/2006 35%
Jan. 1/1997 June 13/2003 40%

Saskatchewan

Corporations in general March 31/2012 n/a 15% No 3 yrs 10 yrs
March 18/2009 April 1/2012
Qualifying CCPCs n/a Yes [14] n/a
All corporations March 19/1998 March 19/2009 No 3 yrs 10 yrs

Yukon

June 30/2000 or Dec. 31/2000 [15] n/a 15%  [15] Yes n/a

[1] Alberta's credit equals 10% of eligible SR&ED expenditures to a maximum expenditure level of $4 million (maximum credit is $400,000). For taxation years ending after March 31, 2012, taxpayers will no longer be required to deduct the federal SR&ED investment tax credit when calculating Alberta's SR&ED refundable tax credit.

[2] British Columbia extended its SR&ED tax from August 31, 2004 to August 31, 2009 and then to August 31, 2014.

[3] British Columbia's refundable R&D tax credit is limited to 10% of the lesser of:

  1. eligible British Columbia R&D expenditures and
  2. the federal R&D expenditure limit (i.e., $3 million or less for taxation years ending after February 25, 2008).

[4] Manitoba's 20% credit is:

  • fully refundable for eligible expenditures incurred after 2009 by a corporation with a permanent establishment in Manitoba that carries on research and development in Manitoba under an eligible contract with a qualifying research institute; and
  • partially refundable (25% in 2011 and 50% after 2011) for in-house R&D expenditures.

[5] Manitoba extended the carry-forward period from 7 years to 10, for 2004 and later taxation years.

[6] Ontario corporations qualify for the refundable tax credit on qualified expenditures incurred up to the expenditure limit ($3 million* or less) that must be shared by associated corporations. The expenditure limit is reduced when:

  • the previous year's taxable capital of the worldwide associated group is between $25 million and $50 million; or
  • the previous year's taxable income of the worldwide associated group is between $500,000* and $800,000*.

* Increases to the expenditure limit and taxable income thresholds follow:

    Expenditure limit Taxable income thresholds Maximum annual credit
Phase-out starts (i) Phase-out ends
Taxation years ending before 2003 $2 million $200,000 $400,000 $200,000
after 2002 $300,000 $500,000
after 2006 $400,000 $600,000
after February 25, 2008 (ii) $3 million $700,000 $300,000
generally, after 2009 (iii) $500,000 $800,000
  • (i) The taxable income thresholds have increased as a result of increases in the federal small business limit.
  • (ii)To determine the expenditure limit for a taxation year that includes February 26, 2008, separate calculations with the old and new phase-out ranges are required.
  • (iii) The thresholds apply to a taxation year only if the previous taxation year ends after 2008.

100% of current expenditures and 40% of capital expenditures are eligible for the credit.

The OITC was originally available to Canadian-controlled private corporations for taxation years ending after December 31, 1994. For taxation years ending after May 4, 1999, the credit is extended to all public and private corporations and is no longer limited to the amount eligible for the federal 35% R&D tax credit.

[7] Ontario's credit is calculated as 20% of qualifying payments (up to $20 million annually on an associated basis) to Ontario eligible research institutes. The maximum annual credit is $4 million.

[8] For taxation years ending after 2008, the R&D tax credit replaces Ontario's deduction for the portion of the federal investment tax credit relating to qualifying Ontario R&D expenditures. The credit can be carried back only to taxation years ending after 2008.

[9] Before this date, Quebec's R&D wage tax credit was subject to different eligibility criteria, rates and restrictions.

[10] Quebec Canadian-controlled corporations with less than $50 million* in assets, on an associated basis, can claim the 37.5% rate on up to the spending limit of $3 million* of R&D wages, on an associated basis. For those with assets between $50 million* and $75 million*, the 37.5% rate is gradually reduced to 17.5%.** The rate is 17.5%** for all other taxpayers. The rate increased from 35% to 37.5% on R&D expenditures incurred after April 21, 2005. For expenditures incurred before June 13, 2003, the 35% rate was 40% and the 17.5% rate was 20%. 50% of payments to arm's length subcontractors are eligible for the credit. All thresholds are in respect of the previous year, on a worldwide associated basis.

* Increases to in the spending limit and asset thresholds follow:

  Spending  limit Asset thresholds
Phase-out starts Phase-out ends
Effective before December 5, 2006 $2 million $25 million $50 million
after December 4, 2006 $50 million $75 million
taxation years ending after March 13, 2008 $3 million (i)
  • (i) For taxation years that include March 13, 2008, the $3 million spending limit is pro-rated based on the number of days in the taxation year after March 13, 2008.

** In certain cases, the rate is 27.5% (not 17.5%) for biopharmaceutical corporations (see footnote 11).

[11] Quebec's November 20, 2012 budget increases the R&D wage tax credit base rate from 17.5% to 27.5% for eligible biopharmaceutical corporations in Quebec that incur R&D expenditures after November 20, 2012, and before January 1, 2018 (i.e., the credit rate will be 27.5% to 37.5%, instead of 17.5% to 37.5% — see footnote 10).

[12] Corporations that qualified for Quebec's R&D wage tax credit at the 40% rate (i.e., Canadian-controlled corporations with assets under $25 million) qualified for an additional 15% tax credit based on the increase in all R&D expenditures over the average expenditures in the last three taxation years. This additional credit was to have been available until taxation years beginning before July 1, 2004, but its expiry was accelerated to taxation years beginning after June 12, 2003.

[13] In some cases, Quebec's 35% (40% before June 12, 2003) credit is available on 80% of payments to certain eligible entities (e.g., universities and public research centres).

[14] The Quebec tax credit for:

  • dues and fees paid to a research consortium is part of the tax credit for university, public research centre and research consortium after June 12, 2003; and
  • pre-competitive research is replaced by the private partnerships tax credit after March 23, 2006.

[15] Quebec's November 20, 2012 budget includes in the taxpayer's income, Quebec R&D refundable tax credits received by the taxpayer after November 20, 2012, that relate to R&D expenditures incurred for taxation years starting after November 20, 2012.

[16] For R&D expenditures incurred after March 31, 2012, Saskatchewan's 15% tax credit is refundable only for Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPCs) and only on qualifying expenditures incurred up to the expenditure limit ($3 million or less) annually.

[17] The credit applies to qualified expenditures incurred in the Yukon after June 30, 2000, for corporations, and after December 31, 2000, for individuals.

[18] Yukon's rate is 20% on R&D expenditures made to the Yukon College.

PwC comments

Among the major industrialized countries, Canada offers one of the most favourable packages of R&D tax incentives, which includes provincial and territorial tax credits available to corporations that conduct qualified SR&ED in the particular jurisdiction.

In addition to provincial and territorial incentives, corporations carrying on SR&ED can also benefit from federal tax credits discussed in Federal investment tax credits for R&D and property: 2011 - 2012. For federal tax purposes, most current and certain capital expenditures on account of SR&ED are deductible. Provincial and territorial tax credits are considered to be government assistance for federal tax purposes, and therefore reduce expenditures that are eligible for the federal SR&ED deduction and federal investment tax credits.

For more information, see Canada Revenue Agency's Summary of Provincial and Territorial Research & Development (R&D) Tax Credits.