Canadian Charity Law

August 26, 2015

Finance releases consultation on draft legislative proposals for Budget 2015 charity provisions

The Department of Finance in late July released for consultation purposes draft legislative proposals that will have an impact on charities.   The 2 main changes are an "exemption from capital gains tax for certain dispositions involving private corporation shares or real estate where the cash proceeds are donated to a registered charity within 30 days" and "providing rules to enable registered charities to acquire or hold interests in limited partnerships in certain circumstances."

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August 22, 2015

CRA posts “Advisory on partisan political activities” as the 2015 Federal election continues

The CRA has posted an "Advisory on partisan political activities" as a reminder to Canadian registered charities that they must avoid all partisan political activities, although they are allowed to conduct certain political activities related to their objects and within in certain resource limitations.

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August 19, 2015

Glover v. The Queen - court rejects gifting arrangement donation receipt

In Glover v. The Queen, the Tax Court dealt with a donation of software under a gifting arrangement and whether there was donative intent.  The TCC found there was no donative intent and then sided with CRA that the taxpayer cannot claim a tax deduction.  It has taken 12 years from the "donation" for the Tax Court to deal with the case - not sure if this is because the court is completely overloaded or as a result of delay tactics.  The case dealt with the Charitable Technology Trust Gifting Program.  

August 19, 2015

Mapish v. The Queen - another Revival Time donation is rejected

In the Tax Court of Canada case of Mapish v. The Queen, Mr. Mapish maintains that he made charitable donations to a charity called Revival Time Ministries International.     CRA reassessed Mr. Mapish and denied his tax credits for $9,600 in 2007 and $11,600 in 2008. The TCC upheld the CRA decision.

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August 19, 2015

Humane Society of Canada v. Canada (National Revenue) - FCA dismisses charity appeal

In the case of Humane Society of Canada for the Protection of Animals and the Environment, the Federal Court of Appeal dealt with a case in which the CRA had issued a notice of intent to revoke the status of the charity, and the charity appealed to the Appeals Directorate of CRA which confirmed the original notice. The charity appealed further to the Federal Court of Appeal which unanimously dismissed the appeal with costs and upheld the Confirmation Decision to revoke the charity.  The CRA's concern with the charity is that it was "providing some of its income for the personal benefit of one of its members (paragraph 168(1)(b)), failing to devote all of its resources to its charitable activities (paragraph 168(1)(b)) and failing to keep appropriate books and records (paragraph 230(2)(a))."  

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August 02, 2015

Canadian Charities and Political Activities: Keeping room temperature in a chilly environment

August 02, 2015

Cathy Hawara’s comments on political activities and compliance in a May 2015 speech

Political activities and charities has been a hot button issue over the last few years.  With Prime Minister Harper launching the 2015 election today it is important for Canadian charities to be aware of their legal obligations and to comply with them. Here are excerpts from the comments by Cathy Hawara, Director General of the Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency, on political activities and compliance in a May 2015 speech that CRA released on Friday.    

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August 02, 2015

Cathy Hawara’s comments on late filing of the T3010 in a May 2015 speech

Registered Charities every year must file the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return.  It is supposed to be filed within 6 months of the fiscal year end for each charity.  Here are excerpts from the comments by Cathy Hawara, Director General of the Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency, Canadian charities and late filing of their T3010 in a May 2015 speech.   

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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. 

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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 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 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 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 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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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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