July 31, 2015

Guindon v. Canada - SCC upholds third party civil penalties under the ITA

In the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision Guindon v. Canada - 2015 SCC 41 the SCC has upheld the third party civil penalties provided under the Income Tax Act.

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July 30, 2015

Public Television Assoc. of Quebec v. CRA - confirms CRA guidance and direction and control rules

In a recent decision of the Federal Court of Appeal Public Television Association of Quebec v. Canada (National Revenue), 2015 FCA 170 the court dealt with funding by a Canadian registered charity of a US charity.  There have been 3 earlier cases dealing with foreign activities and direction and control and this case confirmed the same rules and CRA's important guidance on the subject.  The FCA upheld the revocation of the PTAQ because it was acting as a conduit and making gifts to a non-qualified donee.  There is a good discussion of what is a conduit and how this particular fact situation is a conduit.  I have written an extensive article in 2008 explaining the difference between a conduit and an appropriate structured arrangement that some may .   

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July 26, 2015

RCAAA Transparency Project

As part of the Sean Blumberg Transparency Project we have requested from the CRA copies of the Registered Canadian amateur athletic associations (RCAAAs) T2052 and financial statements for each of the RCAAAs.  None of this information is provided on the CRA website or anywhere else unless an individual RCAAA puts it up on their 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

July 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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July 24, 2015

CRA letter on Chief’s Council qualifying as a public body performing a function of government

CRA recently released a letter which discusses whether a Chief's Council, relating to several First Nations, would be considered a public body performing a function of government for purposes of para. 149(1)(c) of the Act such that it would be able to issue donation receipts as a qualified donee. 

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July 22, 2015

New CRA webpages on political audits and the general audit process

July 20, 2015

CRA revokes the registration of the Canadian Friends of Pearl Children

The CRA has revoked the Canadian Friends of Pearl Children for involvement with what CRA would term an abusive charity gifting tax scheme.  

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July 18, 2015

Countering the Terrorist Threat In Canada: Interim Report from the Canadian Senate

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence has released a report entitled Countering the Terrorist Threat In Canada.  The report provides 25 recommendations.  Some of the recommendations are common sense and others are controversial or questionable.  I was a little upset with the report but perhaps that was because I was taking it too seriously.   As one blogger noted "Keep in mind that the Canadian Senate churns out masses of reports that they have no power to implement. In my opinion many are just make-work projects to show that the senate does actually have a valid function, a point much debated in Canada at the moment."  

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July 17, 2015

Tax Court of Canada dismisses appeal in Duggan v. The Queen, 2015 TCC 175 (CanLII)

In Duggan v. The Queen, 2015 TCC 175 (CanLII), the appellant appealed the Minister's previous assessments which denied charitable credits that the appellant claimed in their 2007 and 2008 taxation years, with respect to charitable donations that were allegedly made. 

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July 08, 2015

McNally v. Canada (National Revenue) - can CRA delay notice of assessment when donation scheme?

Here is an interesting Federal Court case McNally v. Canada (National Revenue) 2015 FC 767 dealing with a delay by CRA in issuing a notice of assessment when a taxpayer has participated in what CRA would an abusive charity gifting tax scheme.  Apparently the case is being appealed to the FCA.  

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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

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

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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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.
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