Canadian Charity Law

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 07, 2014

CRA letter on taxation of gifts from parent to teacher

CRA recently released a letter which discusses the taxation of amounts donated to a private charitable foundation by parents to assist teachers with certain costs, in particular if the parent donations result in a taxable benefit for the teachers. 

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April 07, 2014

CRA letter on taxability of payment from US charitable trust

CRA recently released a letter that discusses whether monthly payments from a US charitable trust paid to a former employee are taxable.

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March 27, 2014

Federal Government announces proposal to allow charities to sell lottery tickets online

Yesterday the Minister of State (Finance) Kevin Sorenson and National Revenue Minister Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay announced that in order to reduce administrative costs associated with charitable lotteries and to allow charities to modernize their lottery systems, there is a proposal in Economic Action Plan 2014 which will amend the Criminal Code to allow charities to sell their lottery tickets online. The current system forces registered charities that conduct lotteries as part of fundraising to process all sales manually and send tickets by mail rather than electronically.

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March 25, 2014

Johnson v. The Queen, 2014 TCC 84 - another false receipting case

In Johnson v. The Queen the Tax Court of Canada dealt with a case in which Mr. Johnson had made claims in 2002 and 2003 taxation years for donations of $18,550 and $15,500 respectively.

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March 24, 2014

Finance releases Legislative Proposals Notice of Ways and Means for February 11, 2014 budget

The Department of Finance has released the "Notice of Ways and Means Motion to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures and Explanatory Notes". Some of the provisions were announced in the Budget such as changes to ecological gifts, cultural property, charity parking, gifts from the Iranian and Syrian government (and agents). 

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March 24, 2014

Julie Guindon v. Her Majesty the Queen - SCC provide leave to hear appeal from FCA

The FCA decision in Julie Guindon v. Her Majesty the Queen has been given leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. 

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March 21, 2014

CRA letter on charitable gifts by secondary will

The CRA recently released a letter which discusses whether a taxpayer's estate was entitled to donation tax credits claimed for a charitable gift made by an individual in her secondary will. The use of a Primary and Secondary Will may be for a number of reasons, although typically in Ontario  the assets that don't require probate are placed in a different will to those assets that do require probate.   In this way some of the probate tax can be avoided.   The letter discusses various issues such as whether the trustees had the discretion to make a gift to a Charity and the factors considered when determining whether a donation to a charity has been made by a taxpayer in their will.

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March 19, 2014

List of Ontario Non-Profit Corporations finally revealed for the first time

Here is a list of the Ontario non-profit corporations under the Ontario Corporations Act.  There are 59,605 Ontario corporations on the list.  The list is 1084 pages long.  Some of the Ontario corporations are active and some are inactive.  We think that it is important for organizations to be able to have a public list so that they can easily determine whether or not they are an Ontario corporation.  

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March 15, 2014

Some historical CRA letters when revocation of charity status

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.  We recently requested from CRA some of the older revocation letters and we have posted them below.  It is interesting to see the difference between the current reasons for revocation and those from quite a few years ago. 

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March 13, 2014

Is a registered charity pressuring a First Nations Band a political activity?

Is an aboriginal band considered a level of government by CRA?   Here is the response I recently received from CRA:

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March 13, 2014

What will happen on October 17, 2014?

As some people know October 17, 2014 is the deadline set for Canada Corporations Act (CCA) non-profit corporations to move over to the new CNCA or face potential dissolution.   It will be 3 years from the date the CNCA  came into force.   Industry Canada has announced that they will start sending out notices after the October 17, 2014 deadline. 

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March 02, 2014

Time is not on your side – A Primer on the CNCA Continuance with Mark Blumberg

Federal non-profit corporations under the Canada Corporations Act (CCA) have until October 17 to continue/move over to the new CNCA.   Here is a short webinar with 15 slides and takes 15 minutes on the CNCA continuance process.  If you have not completed the process you need to get moving. Federal non-profits that are dissolved will also end up losing their charitable status with all the related consequences.     View WEBINAR

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February 28, 2014

CRA announces Information Webinars available in March

Charities Information Webinar registration for the March 2014 session is now open. The topics are:

What is a Related Business? (CPS-019)
March 11, 2014 – 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., Eastern standard time

How to donate wisely – Information for donors
March 12, 2014 – 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Eastern standard time

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February 28, 2014

Kérouac v The Queen - municipality in charity scheme cannot safeguard dignity, honour, reputation

Here is an interesting case in which a municipality, that was allegedly involved in a charity scheme, wanted leave to intervene in a Tax Court of Canada matter involving a donor who had made a donation to the municipality. The TCC maintained “The Municipality is in no way subject to a tax assessment related to the one at issue in this appeal and the judgment in this appeal cannot have a financial impact on the Municipality.”

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February 27, 2014

Applying for registration and your chances of success

Here are some interesting numbers from the Charities Directorate.  4,456 applications and 2060 of them are registered/reregistered.  Most applications are either returned for incomplete information, denied, withdrawn or abandoned.  It just reiterates the importance of carefully preparing any charity application and understanding the Income Tax Act requirements for charities and CRA’s guidance and expectations.

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February 27, 2014

Important update from the Charities Directorate’s Director General Cathy Hawara

The Charities Directorate just posted an important message which provides an update on the Charities Directorate activities.  There is discussion of technology, guidances, CNCA, compliance activities but most importantly extensive discussion of political activities.

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February 25, 2014

Ofori-Darko vs. The Queen - another disallowed receipting case

In the case of Ofori-Darko the CRA disallowed a claim of about $30,000 over 3 years.  The people who allegedly made the donation appealed to the Tax Court of Canada and the TCC dismissed the appeal on the basis that there was no proof that those amounts had been donated and also because certain technical elements of the receipt were not included.  I am really starting to feel sorry for the TCC judges having to listen to these ridiculous donation cases.  I am also feeling sorry for taxpayers who have to pay for Justice to argue these cases and for the operation of the court system.

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February 24, 2014

Charity Commission alert warning charities about Syrian aid convoys and terrorism

The Charity Commission of England and Wales notes that “There is genuine and desperate need for humanitarian assistance to help people affected by the conflict in Syria. UK charities and their partners are playing an important role in the delivery of humanitarian aid to Syria and neighbouring countries.”  However, they discuss how the use of aid convoys has and can be used to facilitate the travel of “foreign fighters” and the resources of the charity can be missapplied to non-charitable purposes.  The Charity Commission provides a number of suggestions which could also be relevant to Canadian charities.  Canadian charities might also find helpful the CRA’s checklist on avoiding involvement with terrorism.

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February 22, 2014

CRA “Non-Profit Organization Risk Identification Project Report” released

The CRA has just released its Non-Profit Organization Risk Identification Project Report.  The relatively short report makes for interesting reading.  It deals with the 80,000 or so non-profits that are not registered charities.  This will have an impact on groups involved with amateur athletics, business associations, social clubs etc.  The report discusses the requirements for these type of entities and how there is some minor and also serious non-compliance with those current requirements.  The 2014 Federal Budget had promised a review of these type of non-profits and the release of this report is one piece of that discussion.

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

Contact

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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