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May 16, 2014

Kathryn Kossow v. Her Majesty The Queen - leave to appeal dismissed with costs by SCC on May 15

The Kathryn Kossow v. Her Majesty The Queen application for leave to appeal was dismissed with costs by the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) on May 15, 2014.   The Federal Court of Appeal released its adverse decision against the taxpayers in December 2013. The taxpayers filed Leave to Appeal against this decision at the Supreme Court of Canada on March 7, 2014. Leave to Appeal was dismissed with costs on May 15, 2014.  Marechaux and Kossow are the two big decisions that the SCC has denied leave to appeal dealing with abusive charity gifting tax schemes.  

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May 10, 2014

Is CRA making registered charity applications harder?

Anecdotally, it feels like the charity application process has become harder.  We have before published stats on the registrations of Canadian registered charities by the Determinations section of the Charity Directorate and so I thought I would crunch some numbers. I compared 2008 to 2012.  In 2008 59% of applicants were registered compared to only 46% in 2012.   That is quite a big difference. Is this good or bad?

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Topics: News

May 07, 2014

Auditor General report on “Aggressive Tax Planning”

The Office of the Auditor General of Canada has just released a report on a number of topics including "Aggressive Tax Planning".   The report is interesting and provides some additional information on a number of points.  Although generally positive there is no question that recent cut backs at CRA are going to make it more difficult to stop tax evasion.  

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Topics: News

May 06, 2014

Blurb from Ontario Non-profit Network (ONN)

Here is a blurb from the ONN May E-bulletin:   "Just how many nonprofits?!  It's amazing the number of calls and emails we received about this first-ever list of nonprofits in Ontario. What we know: there are 59,605 registered not-for-profit organizations in Ontario in this list, and likely more, including those registered nationally or in other provinces. While the list is not a searchable database yet, it's an important step forward, thanks to Mark Blumberg who got the list through Freedom of Information requests and made it public. ONN will continue to advocate for an online searchable database of registered nonprofits in Ontario- we hear you on how important this is for the sector-building and open data!"

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May 05, 2014

7th International Charity Regulators meeting in Melbourne

Here is a note from the New Zealand Charities Services, which is a branch of the Department of Internal Affairs.  It describes an interesting meeting held in Australia between different charity regulators including the Charities Directorate.   

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May 03, 2014

Ontario budget 2014, the call for an election and impact on the charity sector

The budget had a number of interesting proposals - perhaps my favourite was improving the pay of personal support workers (PSW).  Many who even wanted an election liked some of the aspects of the budget and hopefully one day some of the proposals can be revisited.  Some of the candidates views are night and day and I will let other hypothesize of the impact of different governments on society and the economy.   

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May 03, 2014

Latest statistics on “abusive charity gifting tax schemes”

I recently requested numbers from CRA on abusive charity gifting tax schemes.  The number are trending down.  2006 was the highest at $1.3 billion.  2011 was $299 million. 2012 was $273,000.  2013 preliminary numbers are $100,000 but as we know there are more returns to be filed.  Crossing my fingers that the 100 million does not increase too much.

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May 02, 2014

Quirky case on “false receipting” deserves an appeal

The decision of David, R. et al. v. The Queen (TCC) discusses six separate appeals which concern the disallowance of a tax credit for a purported charitable gift to CanAfrica International Foundation (“CanAfrica”).  CanAfrica issued to each of the appellants (or a spouse) a donation tax receipt which formed the basis for tax credits claimed in the appellants’ income tax returns. In reassessments issued by CRA for the 2006 taxation year, the credits were disallowed in their entirety.  We have covered CanAfrica before (here, here, and here)  The surprising part of this case was that the judge waived penalties and allowed the cash contribution (the 10%) of the individuals. 

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May 01, 2014

Further T3010 descriptions of political activities by Canadian registered charities

The T3010 now asks additional questions about political activities.   So far the CRA 2013 database has about 36,000 charities on it.  There are in total approximately 86,000 Canadian registered charities who will file their T3010s.  Therefore, less than half of the 2013 T3010 forms have been filed and inputted into the CRA database so far.   By January or February of 2015 we should expect an almost complete data set.   We have exported the information from the 2013 T3010 database in Schedule 7 dealing with description of political activities from the registered charities that have made filings.  

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April 30, 2014

IRFAN - Canada court documents shed light on different positions

Here are some documents from the Federal Court of Appeal file dealing with IRFAN- Canada.   These documents were filed prior to IRFAN-Canada being placed on the Canadian government's list of "listed entities".

April 29, 2014

IRFAN added to Canadian governments list of “listed entities”

The Globe and Mail this morning had an article on the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy – Canada which is also known as IRFAN – Canada.  CRA had revoked the charitable status of IRFAN - Canada.   IRFAN - Canada is appealing that decision to the Federal Court of Appeal.  Today the Canadian government in the Canada Gazette added IRFAN - Canada as a "listed entity".   We have posted material on IRFAN - Canada before including the letters to IRFAN - Canada from the CRA with respect to the CRA's concerns.   It will be interesting to see how this story develops and the status of the appeal.

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April 28, 2014

Blumbergs’ List of Canada Corporations Act non-profits that need to continue to the CNCA

Here is the Blumbergs' List of Canada Corporations Act non-profits that need to continue to the CNCA.  The federal government as part of its Open Data initiative provides a complete list of Federal corporations (for-profit and non-profit) in XML format.  We thought it might be helpful to look at which Canadian non-profits corporations are still under the old Canada Corporations Act (CCA) and may need to continue under the Canada Not-for profit Corporations Act (CNCA).

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April 27, 2014

Blumbergs’ Snapshot of the Alberta Charity Sector 2012

We recently reviewed the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return database for 2012 as part of the Sean Blumberg Transparency Project.   We have taken a subset of the 2012 T3010 data to look at only registered charities based in Alberta.    The data set was updated to January 2014.  Alberta has a very important charitable sector and this will shed a small amount of light on some of the numbers.   

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April 26, 2014

CRA provides updated statistical information on the charity sector

The CRA has updated its "media kit" and specifically the facts and figures section.

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April 26, 2014

CRA launches new video series on charities and political activities

The CRA has prepared a new video series entitled "Charities and their participation in political activities".  It has 3 videos which are each about 3 minutes long.  There has been  a great deal of interest in political activities and charities over the last couple of years.  I would recommend that charities listen to these CRA videos.   I will also point out that I recently did a 25 minute video on political activities for the Maytree Foundation that some may also find useful.   

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April 26, 2014

World Giving Index ranks Canada #2

The Charities Aid Foundation in the UK has been publishing a World Giving Index for a number of years.   It compares donations, volunteering and helping strangers in about 130 countries.   Overall Canada comes in 2nd.   Although such an endeavour is quite subjective, it is certainly better than trying to equate donations on a tax form with "generosity".  

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Topics: News | Global Giving

April 22, 2014

Copy of notice from Industry Canada “transition now ... or risk dissolution”

Here is a notice from Industry Canada that they are sending to federal non-profit corporations under the Canada Corporations Act.  

April 21, 2014

OHA “Strengthening Foundation Governance: Current Issues, Challenges and Solutions”

I will be presenting at the Ontario Hospital Association's conference "Strengthening Foundation Governance: Current Issues, Challenges and Solutions" on May 30, 2014 in Toronto.   

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April 19, 2014

Blumbergs’ Charity Legal Checklist

Here is an updated version of the Blumbergs Charity Legal Checklist.

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April 18, 2014

Some historical CRA letters when registered charity status is revoked - Part II

For a number of years we have been providing the public with copies of CRA revocation letters.  These letters set out the CRA reasons for revocation of charitable status when CRA is alleging cause.  This the second part of the series.

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April 17, 2014

Toronto Star covers CRA criminal investigation of charity tax shelters

In an article entitled "Canada Revenue Agency expands investigations of tax shelters", Kevin Donovan of the Toronto Star discusses how "As many as 12 charity tax shelter promoters are under criminal investigation for schemes that saw donors contribute millions of dollars in return for charity receipts worth six times as much."

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April 10, 2014

Industry Canada changes Federal Corporate Profile Reports to remind non-profits of CNCA continuance

Many Canadian non-profit corporations don't know about the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (“CNCA”) which came into force in 2011 and requires that all existing Canada Corporations Act (CCA) non-profit corporations must transition to the CNCA by October 17, 2014.   Corporations that do not make the transition by the deadline will be assumed to be inactive and will be dissolved by Corporations Canada.  Industry Canada has indicated that the deadline will not be extended and that they will start sending out Notice of Pending Dissolution in October of 2014.  

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April 10, 2014

Holst v. The Queen, 2014 TCC 104 -another Tax Court of Canada case on false receipting

In the Holst case the Honourable Justice Judith Woods rejected certain taxpayers alleged donations to a church.  She noted:

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April 09, 2014

Bill 85 enters its Second Reading on Thursday in the Ontario Legislature

This Thursday, Bill 85 - An Act to amend various companies statutes and to amend other statutes consequential to the Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, 2010 will enter its Second Reading by the Ontario Legislature and then be referred to a Standing Committee. This Bill, which had its first reading on June 5, 2013, proposes some amendments to the Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act ("ONCA").  This Bill is similar to the earlier version.   There has been a significant delay of the implementation of ONCA and passing this Bill will be an important step in moving the process forward.  

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April 09, 2014

Imagine Canada names new President and CEO Bruce MacDonald

A few months ago I was saddened to learn that Marcel Lauzière was leaving Imagine to move to a foundation.   Now Imagine Canada has picked a new President and CEO.

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Topics: News

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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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