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February 21, 2015

CRA revokes African Computer and Technology Literacy Awareness Program as registered charity

The Canada Revenue Agency has distributed a press release that it has revoked the registration of African Computer and Technology Literacy Awareness Program (ACTLAP) Inc. for involvement with an abusive charity gifting tax scheme.

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February 19, 2015

CRA has minor updates to its Fundraising Guidance to include footnote on Gour decision

The CRA Fundraising Guidance, is CRA's main document dealing with the obligations of registered charities when it comes to fundraising.   The  CRA Fundraising Guidance was initially published in 2009 but then significantly updated on April 20, 2012. At the bottom of each page on the CRA website it notes the last date in which the document was updated.  In the case of the Fundraising Guidance it shows the last update was on June 16, 2014.  I wondered what had been changed.  There appears to be only one important addition - a new footnote to add an Ontario case in which a fundraiser was charged and convicted of fraud.      

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February 17, 2015

French v. The Queen - court rejects bijurilism argument in defining gifts under the ITA

In a recent case French v. The Queen, 2015 TCC 35, the CRA asked that certain arguments related to defining a gift be struck as they had no hope of success. Campbell J. Miller of the Tax Court of Canada agreed with CRA.   The argument made by a group that had invested in an abusive charity gifting tax scheme (Ideas Canada Foundation) relates to bijuralism or that within Canada there are two legal traditions (namely common law and civil law) and that they have slightly different views on a gift and that there was ambiguity in the common law definition and that the civil law definition should be used to interpret what is a gift.. The court concluded that the bijuralism argument is not novel and that it is hopeless.   "I find reliance on Québec laws to interpret common law, when the common law is clear, is not arguable."  TCC continued "I find no basis upon which the Appellants can mount any argument that would extend the civil law definition of gift to the advantage of taxpayers in common law jurisdictions for purposes of the Charitable Donation Tax Credit. Their position with respect to this argument is hopeless."  The TCC found that with respect to the definition of a gift "There is no confusion. There is no ambiguity."   

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February 13, 2015

Enhancing the ONCA Transition for registered charities by reducing redundant charity review

February 13, 2015

CRA letter on Spousal Sharing of Charitable Gifts

CRA recently released a letter with respect to spousal sharing of charitable gifts that was written to David Sherman, one of Canada's top tax lawyers.  As a result of recent legislative amendments in Bill C-43 which received Royal Assent on December 16, 2014, CRA has changed their administrative practice with respect to spousal sharing of charitable gifts with respect to deaths occurring after 2015 (i.e. in 2016 or later).  Bill C-43 included amendments affecting how will and certain designated gifts will be treated for tax purposes for gifts occurring after 2015 and according to CRA this necessitated the change.  The legislative changes affect the taxation of gifts made by will - in some case they will provide greater flexibility but in other cases or situations they may deny certain tax benefits.   

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February 13, 2015

Charity Commission denies gun club application for charity status

In an interesting decision the Charity Commission of England and Wales decided that a gun club should not be registered as a UK charity as it "existed primarily for civilian competition and recreation shooting for the benefit of members rather than for the defence of the realm as to which there was little or no connection."

Here is the decision: Cambridgeshire Target Shooting Association – Application for Registration Decision of the Commission dated 02 February 2015 

Topics: News

February 09, 2015

Scheuer v. Canada - an interesting and wonky case against CRA for not sufficiently warning “donors”

Should CRA do a better job of warning Canadians about abusive charity gifting tax schemes?  Well a group of Plaintiffs who participated in the abusive tax shelter gifting scheme Global Learning Group Inc (GLGI) thinks so.   "The Plaintiffs made a claim in negligence in 2011 against Her Majesty the Queen, the Canada Revenue Agency [CRA], and the Attorney General of Canada for the CRA’s alleged breach of its duty of care by failing to properly warn the Plaintiffs in a timely fashion of the consequences that could follow from their participation in the GLGI program."

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February 09, 2015

CRA has new powers to disclose criminal behaviour to law enforcement

According to Canadian Press "The federal revenue agency can now hand the police possible evidence of serious crime — including terrorist activity — that it happens to come across while reviewing taxpayer files. The Canada Revenue Agency gained the little-noticed new authority, which does not require a judicial warrant, through an amendment tucked into the government's most recent omnibus budget bill."   At the moment CRA is largely muzzled when it comes to sharing information - certainly with the public but even confidentially with other departments.  

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February 09, 2015

Australian Charity Regulator is Safe for Now

A few years back the Australian government set up the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit Commission (ACNC).   Then a new government came into power and decided that having the ACNC was just red tape and that it should be abolished.  Thankfully that new government has done some reconsidering.   Here is an article from Pro Bono Australia http://shar.es/1oiJBZ 

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February 09, 2015

Globe and Mail article “Think tanks need to show us the money”

The Globe and Mail had an article by Konrad ​Yakabuski questioning the degree of transparency about sources of funding with Canadian registered charities that are "think tanks"

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February 08, 2015

Updated Canadian Registered Charity Legal Checklist by Mark Blumberg

Here is an updated version of the Canadian Charity Legal Checklist.  For those who are interested in reviewing legal compliance for their registered charity they may find the checklist helpful.  

February 07, 2015

DFATD Civil Society Partnership Policy and Minister of International Development Advisory Council

Here is an announcement from Minister Paradis on DFATD launching a Civil Society Partnership Policy and an International Development Advisory Council.  It would be an understatement to say that Mr. Paradis tone is different than his predecessors.

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Topics: News | Global Giving | CIDA

February 03, 2015

CRA letter on distribution of income to members of NPO

CRA recently released a letter discussing various scenarios where an NPO will lose its exemption under par. 149(1)(l) during its wind-up operations. Here is a copy of the full CRA letter.

February 03, 2015

CRA letter on Community Contribution Companies distributing profits to a charitable organization

CRA recently released a letter which discusses whether a Community Contribution Company ("C3") incorporated in the province of British Columbia that elects not to distribute any of its profits to its shareholders, but donates all of the profits to a charitable organization, will qualify for exemption from tax under par. 149(1)(l).  CRA had the following comments:

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February 01, 2015

CRA proposes annulment of Dying with Dignity Canada’s charitable registration

The CRA has recently proposed annulment of the registration of Dying with Dignity Canada (DWD), a Canadian registered charity.   In terms of full disclosure I am a legal counsel to DWD.   Here is a note from DWD and a statement from DWD.  

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February 01, 2015

Presentation by Cathy Hawara of the Charities Directorate of CRA

Here is a copy of the slides of a presentation made by Cathy Hawara, Director General of the Charities Directorate of CRA, to the PFC conference in October 2014.  It covers some interesting material.   

January 30, 2015

CRA releases T3010 Registered Charity Information Return for returns for FYE after Jan 1, 2015

It seems that about every year there is a new T3010 form.   CRA has released the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return for returns for fiscal year ends after Jan 1, 2015.

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January 29, 2015

CRA Corporate Business Plan sheds light on Charities Directorate

The CRA Corporate Business Plan discusses CRA plans. It provides some interesting information on the Charities Directorate.  Here are some of the highlights:

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January 28, 2015

Sessional Paper from CRA on political activities by Canadian registered charities

Imagine Canada has obtained an interesting sessional paper from the Canada Revenue Agency.  The questions responded to were provided by MP Hedy Fry.  The paper provides some insight into CRA activity relating to charities and political activities.  

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January 27, 2015

Dominion Nickel Investments Ltd v. The Queen - redaction and Banyan Tree Foundation receipting

The case of Dominion Nickel Investments Ltd v. The Queen, 2015 TCC 14 (CanLII) deals with a motion on CRA disclosure and the extent to which CRA is allowed to redact certain information when it discloses the information as part of a court proceeding.   The actual background to  the case is "[14]      According to the appellant, it acquired and then wound up another corporation. As a result, the appellant says that by the operation of section 88 of the Income Tax Act, it became entitled to claim a deduction in respect of a charitable donation of $65 million made to the Banyan Tree Foundation by the corporation it acquired. The deduction was claimed in its 2004 taxation year. The Minister of National Revenue subsequently reassessed to disallow the claimed deduction."

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January 23, 2015

ONN webinar “Advocacy and Political Activities: Busting myths and misconceptions!”

On February 11, 2015, I will be delivering a webinar for the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) entitled "Advocacy and Political Activities: Busting myths and misconceptions!"

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January 23, 2015

Note from Marni Soupcoff of the Canadian Constitution Foundation on the Broadbent Institute Report

I received an email from Marni Soupcoff of the Canadian Constitution Foundation.  She discusses the narrative that supposedly no "right-leaning" groups are being audited for political activities.  I thought I would share it.

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January 21, 2015

Upcoming Webinars for the Canadian Charity Law Association

The Canadian Charity Law Association is delivering some upcoming webinars. More information on each of these webinars and how to register is provided below: 

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January 16, 2015

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”)

Non-profits and charities should be aware of their potential obligations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (the "AODA"). The AODA was introduced in 2005 to establish accessibility requirements and standards for employers and  providers of goods and services. Requirements under this Act will continue to be phased in for the next 5-6 years.

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January 15, 2015

Fundamentals of Employment Law for Charities and Non-Profits

Blumbergs will be holding a half-day seminar on May13, 2015, Fundamentals of Employment Law for Charities and Non-Profits from 9AM-12PM.  

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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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