Blog

July 06, 2015

Receiving CRA Notices via E-mail

The Canada Revenue Agency ("CRA") has provided a new option for charities to receive the latest notices from the Charities Directorate and the annual reminder to file the Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return, by e-mail (rather than by regular mail). 

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July 05, 2015

CRA guidance on the 2015 Federal budget released

The CRA has posted guidance on the recent 2015 Federal Budget and specifically the provisions relating to donations involving private corporation shares or real estate and the ability of registered charities to invest in limited partnerships.

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July 03, 2015

“Top 20 Charity Law Issues for Canadian Registered Charities” in Ottawa July 15

On July 15, 2015 Mark Blumberg will be delivering a 2 hour presentation entitled "Top 20 Charity Law Issues for Canadian Registered Charities" in Ottawa.  The presentation is complimentary but if you are interested in attending you should register here.

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June 28, 2015

Remittances and the 2015 Federal Budget

I was pleased to see in the Federal budget some funds allocated to study and improve the system of remittances from Canada to developing countries.  In my blog on the day of the Federal Budget entitled 2015 Federal Budget and its Impact on Canadian Charities I briefly touched on remittances.  I have been writing about remittances since 2007 and in 2013 I had made a proposal to Finance on remittances and I am glad to see that there will be greater attention paid to this important mechanism.  

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Topics: News | Global Giving | CIDA

June 25, 2015

RCAAA Transparency Project

As part of the Sean Blumberg Transparency Project we have requested from the CRA copies of the RCAAA T2052 and financial statements for each of the RCAAAs. Unlike with registered charities the information is not easily accessible on the CRA website. For a full list of RCAAAs see CRA's website.  We will be adding additional RCAAAs in the next few weeks.

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Topics: News

June 25, 2015

Deceptive Marketing Practices Digest from the Competition Bureau

'The Deceptive Marketing Practices Digest' was recently released by the Competition Bureau.  The Bureau is committed to enhancing transparency and communication so they are providing this publication which contains information on the relevant provisions of the Competition Act relating to advertising.  

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June 24, 2015

Carleton University “Public policy for philanthropy, charities and nonprofits” - July 16

I will be on a panel at Carleton University on July 16 discussing "Public policy for philanthropy, charities and nonprofits– The issue we cannot ignore" with Cathy Barr, Senior Vice-President, Imagine Canada and Liz Sutherland, Policy Advisor, Ontario Nonprofit Network.

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June 24, 2015

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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June 24, 2015

De Santis v. The Queen, 2015 TCC 95 (CanLII) - valuation of wine for receipting purposes

In De Santis v. The Queen, 2015 TCC 95 (CanLII) CRA challenged the valuation of wine.  In this case the Tax Court of Canada sided with the donor as the CRA had not introduced evidence to rebut the evidence of the donor.  

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June 23, 2015

Report on “Exploring the Potential of Social Finance in Canada”

If you have lots of time on your hands over the summer you might want to read the report "Exploring the Potential of Social Finance in Canada" from Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.  The report provides a summary of various proposals that have been discussed over the last decade.  There is not much that is either new or useful. Probably the most interesting part of the Report was the NDP dissenting opinion of page 59. The NDP is concerned that social finance can be used as a way to outsource social programs and destroy the social safety net.   I am not sure where they get their ideas from - oh they probably have been watching the UK over the last few years!

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Topics: News

June 22, 2015

CRA letter on required retention period of books and records

CRA recently released a letter discussing the required retention period, according to the Income Tax Act (Canada) for the books and records of a corporation (non-profits and registered charities), including the required retention period for a corporation that has dissolved.  

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June 22, 2015

CRA letter on tax treatment of lottery revenue received by non-profit

CRA recently released a letter which discussed whether the lottery income received by a non-profit organization (the 'Association') is subject to taxation in the hands of the Association. The Association provided funding for physical and recreational activities.

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June 16, 2015

The Hudson Institute’s Index of Philanthropic Freedom 2015 - flawed but interesting

The Hudson Institute has recently released The Index of Philanthropic Freedom 2015.  The survey looked at 64 countries and “Through these expert opinion surveys, in-depth information was collected on three main indicators: 1) ease of registering and operating civil society organizations; 2) tax policies for deductions, credits, and exemptions; and, 3) ease of sending and receiving cash and in-kind goods across borders.” Canada scored 4th in total score amongst the 64 countries. 

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June 10, 2015

Rae v. Canada (National Revenue) - Court refuses to certify class action against CRA

In Rae v. Canada (National Revenue), 2015 FC 707 (CanLII), Ms. Rose Marie Joan Rae had invested in what CRA terms an "abusive charity gifting tax scheme".  She filed her 2013 tax return in 2014 and has yet to receive her Notice of Assessment from CRA.    Ms Rae wanted to create a class action against CRA for herself and others.  Ms Rae wanted to force CRA to issue the Notice of Assessment.  The Court ultimately rejected the class action proposal.  

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May 31, 2015

CRA presentation to Finance Committee on terrorism

On March 26, 2015, Rick Stewart, Assistant Commissioner, Legislative Policy and Regulatory Affairs Branch, of the Canada Revenue Agency, made a presentation to the Finance Committee on terrorism.  

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May 29, 2015

CRA updates guide Registering a Charity for Income Tax Purposes T4063(E)

The CRA in May 2015 updated their guide Registering a Charity for Income Tax Purposes T4063(E).  The Guide is the main source of information from CRA to assist the public with charity applications.  The main change between the 2013 version of the Guide and the 2015 version of the Guide is how CRA treats draft applications for charitable status.  Here is a redlined comparison of Registering a Charity for Income Tax Purposes T4063(E) comparing 2015 to 2013.

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May 28, 2015

IRS determination letter summarizes rules for US discretion and control with foreign activities

Recently the IRS has released an adverse determination letter dealing with discretion and control over grants to foreign organizations by an "American Friends of ..." organization.  What is interesting, but certainly not new, is the US requirements for "discretion and control" by "American Friends of" which are similar, but not identical to the Canadian requirements for "direction and control" that are discussed in the CRA Guidance CG-002, Canadian Registered Charities Carrying Out Activities Outside Canada.  The IRS essentially argued that the 501(c)(3) was acting as a conduit and revoked its status.

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May 28, 2015

House of Commons Finance Committee has announced the 2015 pre-budget consultations

The House of Commons Finance Committee has announced the 2015 pre-budget consultations.   Charities interested in making submissions to the Finance Committee should review their recent press release.  Submissions should be dealing with certain themes and no longer than 2,000 words.  They must be submitted by August 7, 2015.  

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Topics: News

May 28, 2015

CRA letter on tax exempt status of affordable housing provider

CRA recently released a letter that discusses the tax implications of an affordable housing provider (an entity described in paragraph 149(1)(l) of the Income Tax Act (the “Act”)) that wanted to provide long-term leasing of its parking spots to a business owned by one of its board members. The housing provider intended to lease excess parking spots and charge the same rate that it charged to its tenants.   The housing provider did not anticipate receiving a significant amount of rental income from leasing the parking spots.

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May 23, 2015

Canadian Charities Conducting International Activities (2015)

Here is an article entitled Canadian Charities Conducting International Activities (2015). It will be of interest to Canadian charities that are, or considering, operating outside of Canada.

May 21, 2015

Fundamentals of International Activities by Canadian Registered Charities

Over 5000 Canadian registered charities operate outside of Canada and they cumulatively spend around $3 billion per year on foreign activities.  The Fundamentals of International Activities by Canadian Registered Charities is a 1/2 day presentation with charity lawyer Mark Blumberg which discusses international activities by Canadian charities and related regulatory issues.  The first Fundamentals of International Activities by Canadian Registered Charities will be held on Tuesday September 22, 2015 from 1PM-4PM. Some charities operating abroad are not aware of, or compliant with, their legal requirements and foreign activities has been an area that has been scrutinized by CRA in its audits and can result in revocation of charitable status if the rules are not followed.

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May 21, 2015

Fundamentals of Political Activities by Canadian Registered Charities

The involvement of charities in political activities has been a major story since 2012. The 2012 Federal Budget introduced new reporting requirements for charities for 2013 but does not fundamentally affect the ability of charities to engage in political activities. Significant resources have been provided to the Charities Directorate to audit charities who conduct political activities. On Tuesday September 22, 2015 we will conduct a 1/2 day program from 9AM-12PM entitled Fundamentals of Political Activities by Canadian Registered Charities.  

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May 18, 2015

Presentation to the Université de Montréal Charity Law Conference 2015

I was delighted to present as part of a panel at the Université de Montréal Charity Law Conference 2015 on May 8, 2015.  The panel was entitled The Modern Charities Regulator and my presentation was entitled "Overview of the Regulatory Environment in Canada for Registered Charities".

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May 18, 2015

Article in Bottom Line “Ontario non-profits await new legislation” by Mark Blumberg

The Bottom Line recently published an article entitled Ontario non-profits await new legislation by Mark Blumberg.  The article discusses options for Ontario non-profits including waiting for ONCA or moving forward to the new CNCA and skipping ONCA altogether. 

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May 18, 2015

Court decides former registered charity IRFAN cannot use funds to pay further legal costs

In a decision on April 9, 2015 in the Federal court The Honourable Madam Justice Mactavish dealt with an issue of whether The International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (Canada) ("IRFAN") could use funds to pay past and future legal costs.   IRFAN used to be a registered charity and then lost its charitable status and finally was in April 2014 added as a listed terrorist entity.   Such listing effectively freezes the assets of IRFAN.   IRFAN was alleged to have provided resources to Hamas, which is a listed terrorist organization.   

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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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