Ethics and Canadian Charities

February 03, 2016

R. v. Raza, -using criminal courts to crackdown on charity fraud

There was recent case of R. v. Raza, 2015 BCSC 2512 (CanLII).  The three accused were tax prepares who were charged with fraud for allegedly being involved with the issuance of false donation receipts. 

January 21, 2016

Canada v. Scheuer, - CRA not responsible for bad shelters that have tax shelter numbers

In the recent case of Canada v. Scheuer, 2016 FCA 7 the Federal Court of Appeal sided with CRA.  A number of people who had invested in abusive tax shelter arrangements sued CRA because CRA had issued a tax shelter number.  The FCA concluded that CRA had no alternative but to issue the tax shelter number and such number does not mean that the tax shelter works. CRA does not have a duty to warn "investors" that a scheme like GLGI is suspect.  Although I might add that CRA does warn people not to invest in these schemes. Also the FCA suggested "the plaintiffs acknowledge that they received independent legal opinions, opinions from accountants and valuation appraisals in respect of the tax shelter. The issuers of such opinions, who benefited financially from the provision of their professional advice, are better placed to indemnify the plaintiffs in the event of negligence in the exercise of their professional responsibilities."   In other words the FCA is encouraging those who invested in these schemes to sue the lawyers, accountants and valuators who provided opinions and appraisals if they were negligent. 

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January 21, 2016

Liberals announces winding down of the political activities audit program for charities

Diane Lebouthillier, the new Minister of National Revenue has announced that the 2012 Conservative government initiative to audit more registered charities on the issue of political activities will be wound down.  There is a lot in the release and I will be writing more about it shortly.  

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January 19, 2016

Charity Village webinar “Top 20 Compliance Issues for Canadian Charities”

I will be presenting a webinar for Charity Village on January 28, 2016 on Top 20 Compliance Issues for Canadian Charities.

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December 18, 2015

The important charity information British people get to see that Canadians are forbidden from seeing

The Charity Commission of England and Wales just released a report entitled Campaigning and political issues arising in the run-up to the 2015 General Election.  When they put it out they probably did not think that it is such a special report.  It explained that in the 2015 UK election there were complaints about UK charities, the Charity Commission investigated and what the result was.   Nothing that exciting, except in Canada if the CRA was to prepare a similar report and provide it to either MPs or the public then people at CRA would go to jail.    

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December 17, 2015

Charity Commission warns UK charities about the risks of ‘dominant individuals’

Here is part of a press release from the Charity Commission of England and Wales concerning "dominant individuals".

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December 08, 2015

R. v. Kueviakoe - using the criminal courts to go after charity fraud

In R. v. Kueviakoe, 2015 ONCJ 681 (CanLII) Ekue Kueviakoe was charged with numerous offences contrary to the Income Tax Act (Canada) because he prepared many false income tax returns.  He was fined at a rate of 100% of the tax avoided on all those income tax returns and sentenced to a one year conditional sentence ie. house arrest.  He will have to pay over $70,000 in fines.   The Judge took into account a myriad of factors in determining the sentence including sick members of his family, his loss of a stable job resulting from the fraud etc.  The Judge noted that in terms of the taxpayers "The Canada Revenue Agency reassessed each of those people such that they are responsible for paying their portion of those taxes.  The Canada Revenue Agency has therefore already been reimbursed.  The individual taxpayers might also have been assessed administrative penalties for their part in this."  

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December 04, 2015

CRA Revokes the Registration of Le Refuge des Rescapes for involvement in tax shelter scheme

Today the Canada Revenue Agency announced the revocation of the registration of of the Canadian registered charity Le Refuge des Rescapes for issuing over $2 million in official donation receipts connected with an abusive charity gifting tax scheme. 

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November 25, 2015

CRA initiative “Protect yourself against fraud”

It is interesting to see that CRA used to refer to "abusive charity gifting tax schemes" and they appear to be lumping them in with fraud.  "Meet Mary & William. Mary and William are a married couple with kids. They have fallen victim to a donation tax shelter scheme. Find out more about Mary and William’s story and how you can protect yourself against fraud."

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November 25, 2015

Mattachione, V. et. al. v. The Queen (TCC)

The Tax Court of Canada recently released a decision where they dismissed the appeals of former spouses relating to reassessments under the Income Tax Act with respect to their alleged charitable donations made in 2003, 2004 and 2005. 

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November 02, 2015

Successful appeal by CRA in Canada v. Castro, 2015 FCA 225

We have previously blogged about the decision of the Tax Court of Canada in David, R. et al. v. the Queen (TCC) (here and here). In this decision, the court allowed the appeals of the respondents relating to tax credits that had been previously disallowed by the Minister of National Revenue for gifts the respondents had made to CanAfrica International (CanAfrica), a registered charity, in 2006 (each of the respondents was issued an inflated tax receipt by CanAfrica).  

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November 01, 2015

Ontario Bar Association program “Top Compliance Issues for Canadian Charities” on Nov 9, 2015

On November 9, 2015 I will be presenting a program for the Ontario Bar Association, along with Nevena Urosevic, on Top Compliance Issues for Canadian Charities.  It is available both in-person and by webcast.

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October 26, 2015

GLGI abusive charitable gifting tax scheme slammed in Tax Court of Canada

In the case Mariano v. The Queen 2015 TCC 244 the Honourable Justice F.J. Pizzitelli reviewed in great detail the Global Learning Trust (2004) and the Global Learning Gift Initiative (GLGI) program.  These programs are what CRA calls abusive charity gifting tax schemes.  For those interested in the regulation of charities and the definition of gift this is a must read case.  It discusses gifts and donative intent, fair market value and valuation reports.  Mr. Justice F.J. Pizzitelli goes into great detail and analyzes the various positions, their expert witnesses and the conduct of the promoter's advisors.

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October 18, 2015

Snapshot on Political Activities in the Canadian Charity Sector 2013

We have prepared as part of the Sean Blumberg Transparency Project this Snapshot on Political Activities in the Canadian Charity Sector 2013.

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October 09, 2015

Agenda for the Blumbergs’ Charity Law Institute 2015

October 09, 2015

CRA letters to Trinity Global Support Foundation on reasons for revocation

The Trinity Global Support Foundation was recently revoked.   It received some media attention because of the involvement of the former mayor of London, Ontario in the charity.  Here are the letters from CRA explaining the detailed reasons for revocation of Trinity Global Support Foundation.  We blogged on this charity before at "CRA revokes Trinity Global Support Foundation as a charity" and "FCA case on Trinity Global Support Foundation - CRA wins again"

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October 08, 2015

Recent CRA letters of revocation for Canadian registered charities

Here are the CRA letters from a number of recent Canadian registered charity revocations, annulments and penalties.  These letters from CRA cover many different grounds for de-registration or the imposition of penalties.   

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October 08, 2015

Canadian Charity Case Law

We are compiling a list of Canadian cases dealing with charities, gifting and related issues.  Let us know if you have any other suggestions:

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September 14, 2015

Humber Fundraising Management Course “Ethical and Legal Issues”

Mark Blumberg will be team teaching, with Valerie Campbell and Sharilyn Hale, the Humber Fundraising Management Course "Ethical and Legal Issues".  It was previously taught by Ken Wyman so we will have big shoes to fill.    

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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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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 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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May 31, 2015

CRA presentation to Finance Committee on terrorism

On March 26, 2015, Rick Stewart, Assistant Commissioner, Legislative Policy and Regulatory Affairs Branch, of the Canada Revenue Agency, made a presentation to the Finance Committee on terrorism.  

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May 23, 2015

Canadian Charities Conducting International Activities (2015)

Here is an article entitled Canadian Charities Conducting International Activities (2015). It will be of interest to Canadian charities that are, or considering, operating outside of Canada.

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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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