AG Shield – Tax Court of Canada allows individual shareholders to allocate all of their non-dividend earnings to SR&ED wages

The two 50% shareholders of a small business corporation, that followed the proxy method for SR&ED purposes, decided at year end that their draws during the year would be treated as wages to the extent of the number of hours (multiplied by an hourly rate of $30) spent by them on SR&ED, and that the balance of their draws represented dividends. CRA reassessed on the basis that a pro rata portion of the wages should be treated as having been paid for non-SR&ED activities based on the percentage (of well over 50%) of their aggregate hours which was not spent on SR&ED.

In allowing the corporation’s appeal, D’Arcy J stated:

[T]he Respondent argued that… [they] did not receive any compensation for the significant time they spent “performing director or management activities”.... As the controlling shareholders and managing directors of the Appellant, they chose to receive dividends in lieu of salary and/or bonuses. This was their choice and did not require a formal agreement.

Neal Armstrong. Summary of AG Shield Canada Ltd. v. The Queen, 2017 TCC 68 under Reg. 2900(2)(b).