Blog

March 21, 2011

Alberta government budget warns taxpayers to beware of charitable donation schemes

The 2011 Alberta budget has a section in it warning Albertans about abusive charitable gifting schemes that offer a person tax savings that are greater than the “investment” by the taxpayer.  The government is very direct and describes these as “illegal charitable donation “programs” or “tax planning arrangements”.”

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March 21, 2011

CIVICUS World Assembly 2011 in Montreal - worldwide gathering of NGOS in Canada

The Civicus World Assembly 2011 will be held in Montreal around September 8-12, 2012.  This is a great worldwide gathering of NGOs.  For those interested in development as well as civil society this is a great conference to network and learn and also a great value in terms of cost.  Here is further information is the flyer in English, French and Spanish.

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March 21, 2011

Fraser Milner Casgrain sued again in class action lawsuit on charity donation tax shelter scheme

The National Post reported that “Law firm Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP and accounting firm BDO Dunwoody LLP are among several defendants named in a proposed class action that seeks more than $300-million in damages due to a failed donation tax shelter.” I think this is the 4th time that a major Canadian law firm has been sued as part of a class action lawsuit.

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March 20, 2011

What is a Related Business?  - free webinar with 2 accountants from KPMG

Charitable organizations that conduct some commercial activities should consider whether these activities meet the CRA’s guidelines on what is a related business. Failure to meet those guidelines could result in the assessment of penalties and even in a revocation of the charity’s registered status. Join Loris Giusto and James Johnston of KPMG as they discuss “what is a related business? The free webinar from CLIP will be on Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 12PM EST and you can register at: https://ocsa.webex.com/ocsa/k2/j.php?ED=143668387&UID=961599277&RT=NCMxMQ%3D%3D&FM=1

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March 19, 2011

CRA updates sections of website dealing with educational resources for Canadian registered charities

The CRA has updated its section “Webinars, Information Sessions, and other news” of the Charities and Giving website and renamed it “Educational resources for charities” http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/cmmnctn/menu-eng.html It now contains the Toolbox for directors, officers, and volunteers and a new page “Educational programs” offered by organizations serving the charitable sector.

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March 18, 2011

Humanitarian Coalition Release on “All aid dollars raised support survivors of disaster in Japan”

Here is an interesting press release from the Humanitarian Coalition on “All aid dollars raised support survivors of disaster in Japan”. 

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March 18, 2011

Globe and Mail article “Are charities taking advantage of the urge to help Japan?” - my thoughts.

There was an article in the Globe and Mail entitled “Are charities taking advantage of the urge to help Japan?”  I think that this article misses a number of very important points.  I am not sure why the Globe and Mail decided to interview former hedge fund people who are in New York as to whether there was need in Japan for donations and to give their views greater prominence than some of the best charities in this country who have affiliates in Japan that are directly involved with the disaster.

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March 18, 2011

Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust of New Zealand is added to IC84-3R and is now qualified donee

The CRA has just revised the attachment to IC84-3R, Gifts to Certain Charitable Organizations Outside Canada, to include Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust of New Zealand.

Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust of New Zealand is added to IC84-3R and is now qualified donee

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March 18, 2011

Japan earthquake - what can Canadian charities do?

The massive earthquake in Japan, apparently the biggest earthquake ever recorded in Japan, and the subsequent tsunami, have caused tremendous destruction. The problems with the nuclear reactors have cause further dislocation.  The Humanitarian Coalition is fundraising for Japan - you can find out more about them at http://humanitariancoalition.ca/ They are a Coalition of Care Canada, Save the Children Canada, Oxfam Quebec and Oxfam Canada. Some Canadian charities may wish to raise funds and provide relief to those affected and here are some suggestions to keep in mind in dealing with international disasters.

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March 18, 2011

CRA updates spending requirement (disbursement quota) checklist

The Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency has updated the Spending requirement checklist to include information to help registered charities determine if they have met their disbursement quota spending requirement.

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March 17, 2011

Canada Revenue Agency on Twitter

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has recently started a Twitter account.  You can sign up at http://twitter.com/canrevagency Some of the information relates to donors and charities, but most of it relates to other areas of tax compliance.

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March 14, 2011

Coleman and Ballard et al v. The Queen -Federal Court of Appeal sides with CRA on donation scheme

Here is a copy of the judgment of the Federal Court of Appeal in the Ballard and Coleman cases.  It is a consolidated appeal of a number of cases.  Over a year ago, in early 2010, the Tax Court of Canada had decided in Coleman http://www.globalphilanthropy.ca/index.php/blog/judgments_of_the_tax_court_of_canada/ against some taxpayers who had made a “donation” to a charity called the National Foundation for Christian Leadership that provides a scholarship or bursary through a scheme to their child or grandchild.  The Tax Court of Canada decided against the taxpayers who had “donated” to this scheme and now the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the taxpayers’ appeal from the Tax Court of Canada.  This again shows that the courts have no sympathy for schemes that provide official donation receipts, when none should be provided.

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March 14, 2011

Blumbergs Canadian Charity Law List - March 2011

Here is a copy of the Blumbergs Canadian Charity Law List - March 2011

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March 12, 2011

Webinar “Responding to International Disasters: Fundraising and Coordination with Nicolas Moyer”

On February 28, 2011 I did a webinar with the Coordinator of the Humanitarian Coalition, Nic Moyer, entitled “Responding to International Disasters: Fundraising and Coordination with Nicolas Moyer”.  You can watch the 1 hour webinar at: https://ocsa.webex.com/ocsa/lsr.php?AT=pb&SP=TC&rID=3061432&act=pb&rKey=dcef805e9eec9dae It is free of charge and was prepared as part of the Charity Law Information Program (CLIP) which is supported in part by a contribution from the Charity Partnership Outreach Program of the Charities Directorate of CRA.

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March 09, 2011

C470 Bill on Canadian Charity compensation passes House and now is on to Senate

The House of Commons has had a third reading and passed C-470 on March 8, 2011.  On March 9, 2011 it received first reading in the Senate and there will be second reading on March 21, 2011.  If this bill passes the Senate, then Canadian registered charities will have to disclose the names of executives and employees whose compensation is over $100,000 per year, and not just the top 5 executives and employees, as of the 2012 financial year.

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March 08, 2011

CRA discusses new anti-avoidance rules and designated gifts for Canadian charities

The CRA has posted a note on the new anti-avoidance rules and designated gifts for Canadian charities that were introduced in the March 2010 Federal Budget.

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March 08, 2011

Toronto Star writes about a number of bad Canadian charities, some affiliated with Xentel

This Toronto Star article discusses various charities, including The Organ Donation and Transplant Association of Canada, the Children’s Emergency Foundation, Pediatric AIDS Canada, that CRA has recently shut down.  It also discusses the telemarketer Xentel DM (now called “iMarketing Solutions Group Inc.”) and their conduct.  If you are wondering what registered charities are allowed to do or not allowed to do with fundraising you may want to read the CRA’s Guidance on Fundraising at http://www.globalphilanthropy.ca/index.php/blog/canada_revenue_agency_guidance_on_fundraising_by_canadian_charities/  Do all charities a favour and don’t donate when you are getting a cold call from a charity that you are not involved with.  If you want to donate go to their website, do research and donate online.  Here are some other tips on donating wisely: http://www.globalphilanthropy.ca/index.php/blog/comments/how_to_effectively_donate_to_a_canadian_charity_-_some_suggestions_from_a_c/

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March 08, 2011

Charity Sector Watchdogs: An Intelligent Development? in Charity Village by Andy Levy-Ajzenkopf

Andy Levy-Ajzenkopf wrote an interesting article on Charity Sector Watchdogs in Canada.  He quotes Cathy Barr (Imagine Canada), Anderson Charters, owner of CharityCan.ca (a great database), Ken Berger (Charity Navigator), Kate Bahen (Charity Intelligence) and myself.

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March 03, 2011

CRA Statistics for the number of visits to the Charities Directorate Website

Here is some information from the Charities Directorate on statistics for the Charities Directorate website

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March 01, 2011

Keep up-to-date with charity legal and compliance issues in Canada - join CRA charity newsletter

The Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) sends out a “Charities and Giving - What’s new” newsletter every couple of weeks with links to new documents on the Charities Directorate webpage.  As CRA notes it “Notifies you about additions to the Charities and Giving Web pages, including Charities Newsletters, policy statements and commentaries, new guidelines, draft guidelines for consultation, and information about outreach activities.”  Canadian charities, directors of charities and staff persons of charities may wish to join the newsletter.

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February 26, 2011

Industry Canada releases Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Regulations with Executive Summary

On February 26, 2011, Industry Canada published the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Regulations under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act.
It provides an Executive Summary as well.

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February 26, 2011

Number of Canadians Concerned about Charity Fraud Up Considerably - but should they be?

CanadaHelps and Capital One did a survey of Canadians about charity fraud which shows that the public’s concern about being defrauded is up considerably.  This is part of an initiative by CanadaHelps and Capital One to highlight dangers of charity fraud as part of Fraud Awareness Month.  Charities should be concerned about the results and their potential impact on donations and confidence in the sector.  I was interviewed by Global TV and by the Vancouver Sun on the issue. While fraud has gone down considerably over the last couple of years, media coverage of some cases has resulted in heightened concern about the issue.

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February 26, 2011

CRA revokes the registration of The Organ Donation & Transplant Association of Canada

The Canada Revenue Agency has revoked the registration of The Organ Donation & Transplant Association of Canada excessive fundraising and administrative fees and for involvement in an “international donation arrangement” in which “the Organization paid $35,000 to allegedly acquire property with a purported value of $2.4 million” which is about 1.5% of the value claimed.  For those interested in avoiding problems with gifts in kind you might want to check out a free seminar that I am delivering for the Charity Law Information Program on gift in kind donations and problems with them at http://ow.ly/3jsBh

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February 23, 2011

Toronto tax preparer jailed in tax fraud scheme - false Canadian charitable donation claims

Here is a press release from the Canada Revenue Agency about a Toronto tax preparer jailed in tax fraud scheme for issuing false receipts.

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February 18, 2011

The Canada Revenue Agency revokes the registration of Pediatric AIDS Canada/USA as a charity

The CRA has revoked the registration of Pediatric AIDS Canada/USA.  It has also reminded Canadian charities that fundraise to be aware of the rules for fundraising contained in the CRA’s Guidance on Fundraising.  http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/plcy/cps/cps-028-eng.html In addition to high fundraising costs CRA noted that the former charity participated in an “international donation arrangement ...the purpose of participating in this international donation arrangement was to artificially inflate its expenditures on charitable activities.”

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Do you require legal advice with respect to Canadian or Ontario non-profits or charities?

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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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