Blog

September 01, 2010

Summary of the Fourth International Conference of Charity Regulators - Washington 2010

Here is a Summary of the Fourth International Conference of Charity Regulators which was held in Washington, D.C. on May 11 -13.  Cathy Hawara and Terry de March from CRA attended.

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September 01, 2010

Upcoming CMA presentations on Top Compliance Issues for Canadian Registered Charities

Here is information on some upcoming presentations I am doing with the Certified Management Accountants of Ontario on Top Compliance Issues for Canadian Registered Charities and their Directors in the GTA including Toronto, Mississauga, Markham, in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, in London, and in Ottawa.

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September 01, 2010

New rules for charities’ fundraising expenses + program spending - questions for directors to ask

Here is a useful document entitled “New rules for charities’ fundraising expenses and program spending - questions for directors to ask”
http://www.rogb.ca/npo/npo-directors-series/director-alerts/item42638.pdf

August 31, 2010

Abusive Charity Gifting Schemes in Canada suffer decline in value and numbers in 2009

It is good to see that in 2009 the problem of abusive charity gifting tax shelters has been further reduced.  Here are the statistics from CRA:

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August 29, 2010

CRA letter on Canadian unincorporated associations and who should pay tax if no longer exempt

Here is a CRA letter on Canadian unincorporated associations and who should pay tax if no longer meeting requirements for tax exemption.

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Topics: News

August 29, 2010

CRA letter on whether Indian band is a public body performing a function of government + tax exempt

One of the categories of qualified donees under proposed legislation is municipal or public bodies performing a function of government in Canada.  Here is a CRA letter on whether an Indian band is a public body performing a function of government as is used in paragraph 149(1)(c) of the Income Tax Act?  It also discusses whether a subsidiary is tax exempt.

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August 25, 2010

Bill C-470 Canadian salary cap for registered charities - simply the wrong approach

A bill to impose a salary cap on Canadian registered charities has passed 2nd reading and will shortly be reviewed by the Finance Committee of the House of Commons.  As they say, there is usually one simple solution to a complex problem that is totally wrong.  To have a single cap for all Canadian charities means that Canadian hospitals, research institutions, and universities will not even have a chance of being able to compete with other similar institutions around the world.  While it sounds appealing to cap salaries at $250,000, a very problematic piece of legislation when you drill down to the details .  You see it is not about what charities want to pay for things - every charity would ideally want everything for free.  Charities need to able to recruit people to accomplish their mission.  Charities should never pay more than they need to.  They should never pay more than fair market compensation.  But you cannot just put a one-size fits all number on what it is.  When there are only a few neurosurgeons you cannot pay what you want - you need to pay something related to the going rate for neurosurgeons or be prepared to do without them.  If you are a small community in the North and you want to have a specialist in your community, you may have to pay that person more than what a comparable hospital in Toronto or Chicago would pay.

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August 24, 2010

CRA 2010 Charities Information Sessions now allowing registration

Here is a list of CRA 2010 Charities Information Sessions http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/cmmnctn/sssns/nvttn-eng.html

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August 24, 2010

CRA provides information on Pakistani disaster relief for Canadian charities and donors

Here is a link to CRA’s new page “Floods in Pakistan” http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/whtsnw/tms/pkstn-fldng-eng.html It also has links to CIDA’s matching program.

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August 23, 2010

CIDA Announces Pakistan Flood Relief matching program for Canadian charities

CIDA has announced that it will have a matching fund for donations raised by Canadian charities for the Pakistan relief from August 2 to September 12.  The Pakistan Floods Relief Fund will not be given to each charity that raised funds but instead there will be an application process in which charities can apply for the funds and they will have to demonstrate that they have the capacity to do the work effectively.  This is similar to the Haiti earthquake fund a few months ago.

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August 23, 2010

Mark’s programs for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario - Fall 2010

I will be doing a number of programs for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario (ICAO) including on Top Compliance Issues - Registered Charities, Directors, CAs; Charity Fundraising and Receipting Rules and Recent Legal Developments Affecting Registered Charities.

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August 22, 2010

CanadaHelps Free Training Seminars for Charities Announced

CanadaHelps is offering a number of free training seminars for charities.  They look very interesting and here are the details:

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Topics: News

August 22, 2010

Assessing the Contribution of Faith-Based Organisations in Development - CIVICUS 2010

Here is a copy of a powerpoint from a workshop at the CIVICUS World Assembly entitled “Assessing the Contribution of Faith-Based Organisations in Development: Mythical or Real?”.

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August 22, 2010

CIVICUS World Assembly 2010 in Montreal, Canada - some personal observations.

Here are some of my notes on my learnings at the CIVICUS World Assembly 2010 that I am attending in Montreal.

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Topics: News | Global Giving

August 20, 2010

CIDA presentation and material on Partnership with Canadians Branch (PWCB)- August 2010

For those who could not attend the CIDA presentation today in Toronto here is a copy of the CIDA presentation and material on Partnership with Canadians Branch- August 2010.  There are some questions posed in this document that CIDA is looking for input by Wednesday August 25.  Here is a cleaner copy of the CIDA presentation from the OCIC, without the questions.

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Topics: News | Global Giving | CIDA

August 18, 2010

Canadian Charities that Operate Abroad listed by Country and Region based on 2008 T3010 information

This document contains a list of countries and regions in which Canadian charities are conducting foreign activities.  The information comes from the 2008 T3010 Registered Charity Information Return and specifically Question C5:  “For programs the charity managed directly, outside of Canada, list the countries or regions where programs were carried on. Do not include countries or regions where programs were managed by a qualified donee.”

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August 17, 2010

Update from Kevin McCort of Humanitarian Coalition on Pakistan flooding and response

Here is a request from the Humanitarian Coalition with respect to Pakistan http://thehumanitariancoalitionenglish.cmail4.com/t/y/e/miritl/biljdktji/  Here are some blogs and pictures from Pakistan http://www.thehumanitariancoalition.ca/index.php/site/newsRoomArticle/blogs_and_info_from_pakistan/  The Humanitarian Coalition is made up of Care Canada, Oxfam Quebec, Oxfam Canada and Save the Children.  They fundraise and work together in major international disasters to be more efficient, effective, and coordinated.

August 16, 2010

10 Principles of Good Practice for the Intelligent Funder - from SCVO and CIVICUS

Here is an interesting guide for those involved with funding NGOs around the world.  Don’t be put off by the title -  you may still be intelligent even if you don’t follow all the principles!

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August 15, 2010

Philanthropic Foundations Canada - program Global Giving - Possibilities and Pitfalls

I will be one of the presenters at an upcoming PFC program called Global Giving - Possibilities and Pitfalls.

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August 11, 2010

N.Y. passes new law limiting tax deductions for people earning over $10 million

Here is an article on the Chronicle of Philanthropy about New York State’s new law limiting deductions for donors who earn over 10 million http://philanthropy.com/article/NY-Governor-Signs/123863/  It is thought that other states as well as the Federal government may follow this example.  There are some that argue the the more the merrier when it comes to tax incentives for people giving to charity.  However, as New York is seeing the greater the tax incentives for general charitable giving the greater foregone revenue needed to run basic government services.  This may be a ‘luxury’ they cannot afford.  Also while some donors are fixated on tax rates, according to a number of surveys tax barely figures in the equation. Will Canada follow NY’s example?  We will see.

Topics: News

August 11, 2010

ArtezInterAction 2010 - 4th annual conference on social media and online fundraising

The 4th annual Artez InterAction one day conference is coming up on September 28, 2010 at the Mars centre in Toronto.  There are lots of good speakers but make sure you catch Claire Kerr - she is a very funny lady!  For more information see: http://www.artez.com/news_and_events/conferences/artezinteraction_north_america/conference_sessions

Topics: News

August 10, 2010

Canadian charity employment numbers - statistics from 2008 data - how many people work for charities

Did you know that there are a number of Canadian charities with over 10,000 employees?  These statistics are according to the 2008 T3010 Registered Charity Information Return numbers from the Canada Revenue Agency.  There are 241 who have over a thousand employees.  There are 1277 who have over a hundred employees.  There are 7456 who have over 10 employees.  There are 36,836 charities have one or more employees.

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August 09, 2010

Pakistan flooding - be careful of which disaster appeal you respond to

Tomorrow, the Humanitarian Coalition will launch an appeal for flooded Pakistan. Here is a link to their website http://tiny.cc/rr9x7 For those who have not heard of the Humanitarian Coalition it is “a network of Canadian NGOs determined to unite in cases of humanitarian crises. Four of Canada’s leading aid organizations have founded the Humanitarian Coalition: CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec and Save the Children Canada.”

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August 09, 2010

Mark Blumberg on Global TV discussing how to decide if a Canadian charity is worthy of support

Here is the segment (2.5 minutes) with Sean O’Shea, a consumer reporter for Global TV.  Mark Blumberg, moi, is being interviewed along with much more serious, important, and influential characters such as Marcel Lauzière of Imagine Canada

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August 08, 2010

Christopher Paterson v. MNR - person loses right to EFILE after filing inflated donation receipts

The case involves the CRA denial of EFILING privileges to Mr. Christopher Paterson, an individual who prepares clients’ returns because he assisted them with a “scheme” in which the applicant “accepted money from taxpayers who wished to “donate” to these charitable organizations in exchange for an “enhanced receipt” for tax purposes (the scheme). The receipt provided to the taxpayer would reflect a much larger sum of money than was actually paid and would then be used in the preparation of the client’s tax return to provide the client with sizeable deductions from their taxable income.”  Mr. Paterson had objected to the CRA determination and the Federal Court upheld the CRA decision.  The CRA Chief of Appeals had noted “[The applicant’s] conduct was disreputable in nature because of [his] involvement in selling charitable donation receipts to [his] clients for gain. Further, [he] knowingly prepared returns using these donations receipts from which there were no actual contributions to the registered charities. As a result, [the CRA] find[s] that [his] conduct in this matter does not reflect positively on the integrity of the EFILE program…”  The court noted “While the applicant may not have had any reason to question the authenticity of the receipts his clients were being supplied, he most definitely knew that the amounts paid by his clients were not equal to the amounts they were given credit for when he was completing their income tax returns. There was evidently some sort of wilful blindness on the part of the applicant. The mere fact that the applicant did not believe this to be fraudulent does not detract from his admission that he participated in a scheme whereby taxpayers were making claims for the deduction of sums of money they never paid to these charitable organizations. As it is often said, ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

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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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