Blog

June 24, 2016

Lack of transparency continues when the Canadian government makes a gift to a foreign charity

On the CRA website there is a list of foreign charities that received a gift from the Canadian government.  CRA has just released a new Guidance CG - 023 Qualified donee: Foreign charities that have received a gift from Her Majesty in right of Canada which discusses how foreign charities are placed on the list.

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June 18, 2016

CBC “Charity tax fraud to cost brothers their freedom”

The CBC in an article entitled "Charity tax fraud to cost brothers their freedom" how two brothers were each sentenced to over 4 years for being involved in charity fraud over nearly $5 million. It shows how the CRA is increasingly using criminal convictions instead of just revocations.  The judge described the fraud as "industrial scale".   The article notes "The total number of false claims over the life of the scheme was more than 1,700 for a purported $11.4 million of alleged donations." Keep in mind that this was only issuing $5 million in fraudulent receipts which is a tiny tiny amount compared to some other schemes out there.

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June 18, 2016

“Donald Trump Accused of Using His Charity as a Political Slush Fund” - The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast has a rather extensive article on Donald Trump's use of the Trump Foundation entitled Donald Trump Accused of Using His Charity as a Political Slush Fund.  It is well worth reading.  I have criticized the Clinton Foundation for some lapses when it came to transparency and especially the lame excuses they gave in response to questions.  Nothing that the Clinton's have done with their foundation seems to be even close to the seriousness of the allegations leveled against the Trump Foundation.

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Topics: News

June 17, 2016

CRA releases new online registered charity information request forms that will increase transparency

CRA recently released two new online registered charity information request forms which have been created to simplify the process when requesting certain types of information from CRA.  Previously this information was typically requested by sending a letter/fax to CRA.  Now it can be done online.  This is a giant step forward in making it easier for Canadians to be able to access public information from the CRA's Charities Directorate on Canadian registered charities. 

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June 15, 2016

Copy of CRA’s Non-Profit Organization Risk Identification Project - Draft Final Report - July 2013

The NPORIP was a major initiative of the Federal government to look at the approximately 80,000 - 100,000 organizations that are non-profits but not registered charities and the extent to which there are compliance issues.  In July 2013 the CRA prepared a draft "final" 76 page report (the "July 2013 Report") which we have attached.  It is 18 MB so it may take a minute to load.

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June 13, 2016

Stewards of the Public Trust: Long-Range Planning for the Future of the IRS and the Exempt Community

The IRS recently released a report entitled "Stewards of the Public Trust: Long-Range Planning for the Future of the IRS and the Exempt Community".   The Report was prepared by the Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT), which is an advisory body of the IRS.  I was one of the people interviewed for the report in September 2015 and  I am glad to see the report finally come out.   

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Topics: News

June 10, 2016

Bill C-239, a private members bill on tax incentives for donations, is defeated on second reading

It appears that Bill C-239, Ted Falk's private members bill to increase tax incentives for donations, has been defeated on second reading.   Both the Liberals and NDP expressed reservations about the private members bill and its potentially high cost.  In May I wrote a blog criticizing the bill.  A recent report from the PBO confirmed that the cost could be far higher than the projections provided by Mr. Falk.   

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June 04, 2016

The terribly high cost of Bill C-239 dealt with in Parliamentary Budget Officer report

The PBO has recently released a report entitled Cost Estimate of Bill C-239: An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (Charitable Gifts).  Bill C-239 is a private members bill by MP Ted Falk to increase donation tax incentives to match the tax rates given for political donations to charitable donations, but with none of the limits that apply to the amount that you can donate to political parties.  The report is well worth reading.  It describes the very high cost of passing this private members bill even if more funds are not donated to charity.

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May 30, 2016

Upcoming Webinars for the Canadian Charity Law Association

The Canadian Charity Law Association is delivering some upcoming webinars.  Registration is free but space is limited. 

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May 28, 2016

Recent Changes to the Regulation of Charitable Activities in China

Blumbergs and the OCIC will be hosting a program on June 21, 2016 entitled "Recent Changes to the Regulation of Charitable Activities in China that will affect Chinese and Canadian charities".  You can register here.  It will feature Prof. Mark Sidel, Consultant for Asia at the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) and Doyle-Bascom Professor of Law and Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Mark Sidel has worked on nonprofit and philanthropic regulatory developments in China for nearly thirty years, and has worked in China for more than four decades. He will outline these recent developments, discuss their implications, and answer questions.

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May 27, 2016

AFP Toronto Fundraising Day:  The Time is Now: Government Relations for Canadian Charities

I am pleased to be on a panel for AFP GTA Fundraising Day with Caroline Riseboro, Bruce MacDonald, Hilary Pearson, and Stewart Wong.  The topic of the panel will be "The Time is Now: Government Relations for Canadian Charities".

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May 26, 2016

CRA letter on donation of capital property and donation receipt

CRA recently released a letter which discusses whether an official receipt issued for property donated in kind can include an amount less than the fair market value of the property.  CRA cited section 3501 of the Income Tax Act (Canada) Regulations to confirm that an official donation receipt should include the amount of the fair market value or the deemed fair market value of the property, in certain circumstances.  

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May 25, 2016

Total revenue received from all sources outside Canada by Canadian Registered Charities in 2014

Here is our article "Total revenue received from all sources outside Canada by Canadian Registered Charities in 2014".  It provides a list of Canadian charities that received foreign income in their 2014 fiscal year.  Foreign income for Canadian charities has risen to $1.8 billion - making it an important and growing source of revenue for Canadian charities.  

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May 25, 2016

Fundamentals of Employment Law for Charities and Non-Profits 2016

Blumbergs will be holding a half-day seminar on Tuesday June 21, 2016, Fundamentals of Employment Law for Charities and Non-Profits from 1PM-4PM.  You can register here

May 22, 2016

Industry Canada sends out thousands of final notices of pending dissolution to Federal CCA NPOs

Industry Canada has sent out notices to thousands of Canada Corporations Act (CCA) corporations warning them of their pending dissolution as they have failed to transition to the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (“CNCA”). Industry Canada wants to wind down the CCA and in order to do so they need to remove all remaining corporations under the CCA.  It appears that up to 2000 of such corporations may be registered charities.  Industry Canada had generally held off sending the notices to registered charities but the transition deadline of October 2014 is now over 1.5 years old.  

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May 22, 2016

Another poorly thought through Canadian private members bill that affects the charity sector

A Canadian private members bill, introduced by MP Ted Falk, would change the tax credit for donations to charities.  It is called the Fairness in Charitable Gifts Act- Bill C-239.  Malcolm Burrows recently wrote a very useful critique of this poorly thought through piece of legislation. Essentially the idea behind the proposal is to match the incentive for charitable donations to those offered for political donations.  However, unlike political donations which have very low caps and therefore the tax benefits are very limited, there will be no limit on the tax benefits that donors to charities receive under this bill. 

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May 18, 2016

CRA information on assisting people and charities impacted by the wildfires in Alberta

The Canada Revenue Agency ('CRA') recently published a Question and Answer piece on its website which provides information on providing assistance to people impacted by the wildfires in Alberta and information for registered charities that may have been impacted by the wildfires or would like to provide assistance.  Here is the CRA link: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/whtsnw/frtmcmrry-qstns-nswrs-eng.html?utm_source=charities&utm_medium=eml

May 10, 2016

CRA letter on tribal council qualifying as a public body performing a function of government

CRA recently released a letter which considers whether a Tribal Council should be considered a public body performing a function of government within the meaning of paragraph 149(1)(c).  

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May 10, 2016

Application for leave to appeal denied by SCC in Ray Castro v. Her Majesty the Queen

We have previously blogged about the decision of the Tax Court of Canada in David, R. et al. v. the Queen (TCC) (herehere and here).  In the previous decision of Canada v. Castro, 2015 FCA 225, the Minister appealed the decision in David v. The Queen by asserting that the Tax Court of Canada erred in law.

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May 09, 2016

CPA Ontario Not-for-Profit and Charity Finance Leadership Certificate Program

Mark Blumberg will be presenting to the CPA Ontario Not-for-Profit and Charity Finance Leadership Certificate Program on June 6, 2016 on legal issues affecting the non-profit sector.

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May 06, 2016

Charity Commission reports on funding non-charities by Joseph Rowntree Trust and Roddick Foundation

The Charity Commission of England and Wales has  released two very interesting regulatory case reports including the Regulatory Case Report -  The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust  and Regulatory Case Report -The Roddick Foundation.  These reports are interesting in that they discuss grants from UK charities to non-charities and the necessary steps a charity should take to ensure that their funds are appropriately used.

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May 04, 2016

New CRA guidance on low-cost housing corporations for the aged seeking QD status

CRA recently released a new guidance which provides information for low-cost housing corporations for the aged which are interested in becoming Qualified Donees.  The guidance replaces the Income Tax Rulings Directorate letter dated March 18, 2013.  

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May 03, 2016

Top Fallacies about Private Foundations in Canada

Here is a recent article written by Mark Blumberg, Kate Robertson and Lynn Gluckman of Blumberg Segal LLP on the Top Fallacies about private foundations in Canada.  The article discusses incorrect misconceptions that many people have about private foundations.  This article was also published as a two-part series by the Hillborn Charity eNews on April 19th, 2016 and April 26, 2016.   

April 27, 2016

Top Fallacies about Private Foundations in Canada - Part two

The Hillborn Charity eNews just published the second part of our article Top fallacies about private foundations in Canada.  It discusses numerous incorrect preconceptions that people have about private foundations.  

April 27, 2016

CRA notice for 2015 T3010 filings to add question related to partnership holdings

CRA has been sending out notices relating to the 2015 T3010 Registered Charity Information Return asking that a one page form entitled "New Reporting Requirement" be added to a registered charity's 2015 T3010 filing.  The notice essentially asks the question "Did the charity have direct partnership holdings at any time during the fiscal period?" and CRA has already included that question in the 2016 T3010 under question C15 but it was not included in the 2015 T3010. 

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Charity Lawyer Mark Blumberg

Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law.

mark@blumbergs.ca
416.361.1982
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