Global Giving

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 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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June 28, 2015

Remittances and the 2015 Federal Budget

I was pleased to see in the Federal budget some funds allocated to study and improve the system of remittances from Canada to developing countries.  In my blog on the day of the Federal Budget entitled 2015 Federal Budget and its Impact on Canadian Charities I briefly touched on remittances.  I have been writing about remittances since 2007 and in 2013 I had made a proposal to Finance on remittances and I am glad to see that there will be greater attention paid to this important mechanism.  

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Topics: News | Global Giving | CIDA

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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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 28, 2015

IRS determination letter summarizes rules for US discretion and control with foreign activities

Recently the IRS has released an adverse determination letter dealing with discretion and control over grants to foreign organizations by an "American Friends of ..." organization.  What is interesting, but certainly not new, is the US requirements for "discretion and control" by "American Friends of" which are similar, but not identical to the Canadian requirements for "direction and control" that are discussed in the CRA Guidance CG-002, Canadian Registered Charities Carrying Out Activities Outside Canada.  The IRS essentially argued that the 501(c)(3) was acting as a conduit and revoked its status.

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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.

May 21, 2015

Fundamentals of International Activities by Canadian Registered Charities

Over 5000 Canadian registered charities operate outside of Canada and they cumulatively spend around $3 billion per year on foreign activities.  The Fundamentals of International Activities by Canadian Registered Charities is a 1/2 day presentation with charity lawyer Mark Blumberg which discusses international activities by Canadian charities and related regulatory issues.  The first Fundamentals of International Activities by Canadian Registered Charities will be held on Tuesday September 22, 2015 from 1PM-4PM. Some charities operating abroad are not aware of, or compliant with, their legal requirements and foreign activities has been an area that has been scrutinized by CRA in its audits and can result in revocation of charitable status if the rules are not followed.

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May 18, 2015

Court decides former registered charity IRFAN cannot use funds to pay further legal costs

In a decision on April 9, 2015 in the Federal court The Honourable Madam Justice Mactavish dealt with an issue of whether The International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (Canada) ("IRFAN") could use funds to pay past and future legal costs.   IRFAN used to be a registered charity and then lost its charitable status and finally was in April 2014 added as a listed terrorist entity.   Such listing effectively freezes the assets of IRFAN.   IRFAN was alleged to have provided resources to Hamas, which is a listed terrorist organization.   

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March 11, 2015

Article “Aid Barriers and the Rise of Philanthropic Protectionism” by Doug Rutzen

Doug Rutzen of ICNL has published an interesting article entitled Aid Barriers and the Rise of Philanthropic Protectionism.  The article is an updated version of an earlier article entitled "Regulation or Repression: Government Policing of Cross Border Charity,”  

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Topics: News | Global Giving

February 24, 2015

“Australian ‘Charity’ Fined Record $1.5 Million” for Canadian “fake philanthropic scheme”

The Australian website Pro Bono Australia has published an article on an Australian Federal Court decision to impose a $1.5 million fine on a "fake philanthropic scheme was modelled on an arrangement which previously failed in Canada, and involved the purchase and donation of AIDS pharmaceutics to charities in Africa." It is interesting that as we are considering in Canada the constitutionality of civil penalties, that the Australians are imposing such civil penalties on Canadians for schemes offered in Australia by a Canadian company.   It is also interesting that these type of abusive charity gifting tax schemes issued receipts in Canada for over $6.3 billion dollars.  The "success" in Australia was much more limited and perhaps 1/1000 of that.

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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 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

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

December 13, 2014

Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law Boot Camp 2015

We are looking forward to presenting the Blumbergs' Canadian Charity Law Boot Camp 2015 on April 14, 2015.   For information or to register see: Blumbergs' Canadian Charity Law Boot Camp 2015

November 24, 2014

CRA adds another US charity to list of qualified donees that received gift from Canada

As we have noted before the "List of registered foreign charitable organizations that have received a gift from Her Majesty in right of Canada" had lost all of its charities.  Then the "Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation" was added and now the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars has been added.  Both were previously on the list.  

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November 18, 2014

DFATD Call for proposals for $370 million in funding for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

Groups interested in international development and humanitarian assistance may want to review the new call for proposals from the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD).  

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Topics: News | Global Giving | CIDA

October 28, 2014

Blumbergs’ Ontario Charity Sector Snapshot 2012

Here is the Blumbergs' Ontario Charity Sector Snapshot 2012.   For those who are interested in the size and scope of the Ontario registered charity sector you may find it interesting.   We have taken a subset of the 2012 T3010 data to look at only registered charities based in Ontario.

October 24, 2014

CRA adds “Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation” to list of Canadian qualified donees

Recently the Globe and Mail had a story entitled  “Canada Revenue Agency delists foreign charities”.   CRA has recently added the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation to the "List of registered foreign charitable organizations that have received a gift from Her Majesty in right of Canada".  So we have gone from no foreign charities on the list to one foreign charity on the list.   The qualified donee status is effective from 2013-11-07 to 2015-11-07.  Canadian donors can gift funds to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation and receive an official donation receipt.  Furthermore, Canadian charities can make gifts to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation.    

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October 08, 2014

Taxpayers’ Ombudsman releases major report “Donor Beware” on charity gifting tax shelter schemes

I was delighted to read a publication "Donor Beware: Investigation into the sufficiency of the Canada Revenue Agency's warnings about questionable tax shelter schemes".  The special report was prepared in December 2013 by J. Paul Dubé, the Taxpayers' Ombudsman.  The 39 page report rips into charitable gifting tax shelters.  Although it is generally very positive about the work of CRA in trying to educate taxpayers and denying the tax credits it does make some recommendations for CRA to increase educational efforts to donors on the dangers of these schemes.  I was quite pleasantly surprised that there were a number of references to articles I have written or websites that I edit.

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September 17, 2014

Webinar “Foreign Activities 101: Introduction to Canadian charities carrying out foreign activities”

I will be delivering a webinar for the Canadian Charity Law Association entitled "Foreign Activities 101: Introduction to Canadian charities carrying out foreign activities".  It is free but you need to register.

Here is a link to the registration page for "Foreign Activities 101: Introduction to Canadian charities carrying out foreign activities".

For other Canadian Charity Law Association webinars see:  http://ow.ly/BCWG0 

September 12, 2014

Imoh v. The Queen - another false receipting case

Did Mr. Imoh give charitable donations of 45,000, in cash, to Revival Time Ministries International over 3 years? Did Mr. Bello give $15,000 to the same charity?   This is the crux of the case.  You can read about Revival Time Ministries International's revocation by CRA here.  (As an aside and outside the scope of charity law you can read about allegations of sexual assault here.)   Far from having poor records or no records the charity produced some Canadian bank statements which the charity seemed to prepare for itself.  I did not know that you can prepare your own bank statements but I learn a new thing everyday!  This case really enhanced my understanding of charity law in Canada!

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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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