What's New from the Charities Directorate of CRA
October 22, 2014
The recent terrorist attacks in Quebec and Ottawa are a reminder of the impact of terrorism. Canadian charities are an important part of Canadian society and it is important that they protect their employees, volunteers, and other resources from terrorist abuse.
October 18, 2014
The CRA announced that it has revoked a charity, Skyway Foundation of Canada, for issuing inflated receipts for donations of marketable securities. In our Receipting Kit we note: "When a donor donates shares on certain stock exchanges, the CRA has “as a general rule, accepted the use of the closing bid price of the share on the date it is received or the mid-point between the high and the low trading prices for the day, whichever provides the best indicator, given the circumstances, of fair market value on normal and active market trading.” In some cases, such as thinly traded shares, this may not be appropriate." CRA notes in its press release that "During 2008, a private group of taxpayers engaged in transactions designed to artificially inflate the value of publicly traded shares. These shares were subsequently donated to the Organization which, in turn, issued official donation receipts totaling approximately $2.6 million. Subsequent to the donation, in 2009, these shares lost nearly 95% of their value resulting in a substantial loss to the Organization." it appears that this revocation was for thinly traded shares that were artificially inflated.
October 17, 2014
As many of you know on October 17, 2011, the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (CNCA) came into force. Canadian non-profits under the Canada Corporations Act (CCA) have 3 years to make the transition. The bad news first - today is the deadline. The good news is that about 9000 CCA corporations of 19,000 or so have moved over to the CNCA. About another 1000 are in the pipeline according to Industry Canada and being processed. The next bit of good news that you should know is that although the deadline for the transition is October 17, 2014, dissolution is not automatic today and in fact Industry Canada will apparently start very slowly dissolving corporations beginning in November and focusing in on corporations who have not filed their corporate returns for many years.
October 15, 2014
Here is some recent T3010 information from the Charities Directorate showing the assets and revenues of Canadian registered charities in 2011 and 2012. It is in both English and French.
October 08, 2014
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.
October 07, 2014
On October 3, 2014, CRA released an updated resource on tax shelter arrangements on the CRA website. This page provides detailed information on what is a tax shelter, provides links to case law dealing with tax shelters, and cautionary steps for individuals considering getting involved in a tax shelter.
October 07, 2014
CRA recently released a letter which discusses whether required changes to a research institute's (the 'Institute') Letters Patent (the charitable purposes and the dissolution clause) in order to obtain status as a registered charity will affect the status of the entity as an approved research institute for purposes of clause 37(1)(a)(ii)(B) of the Income Tax Act. CRA held that there were no changes being made to the activities of the Institute so its status as an approved research institute would not be affected. Here is an excerpt from the CRA letter:
October 07, 2014
CRA recently released a letter which discusses various issues relating to a non-interest bearing loan provided to a charitable foundation. A taxable Canadian corporation provided a loan to a related Foundation (a Canadian registered charity) which did not carry a stipulated rate of interest. The question was whether the Corporation should charge interest at a prescribed rate to the Foundation. It was found that Section 69(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act may deem the holder to acquire the loan at a cost that is less than the principal amount. Here is an excerpt from the letter:
September 22, 2014
CRA has been sending out numerous notices with respect to the importance of Canada Corporations Act (CCA) corporations continuing to the new Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (CNCA). A number of people have contacted us with respect to the notice. In some cases the Federal corporations were established in 2012 or 2013 under the CNCA. In other words they were never even under the CCA and cannot continue to the CNCA. Therefore, some of these notices may be sent to corporations that need to make changes, but others may be sent in error. You can check your status and under which act you are currently under at the Industry Canada website. It is easy and free.
September 17, 2014
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has revoked the charitable registration of the Friends and Skills Connection Centre, a charity based in Etobicoke, Ontario. The revocation was effective as of September 13, 2014. According to CRA, the charity was not maintaining adequate books and records, failed to file an accurate T3010 Return, failed to operate within its charitable mandate, and was conducting serious breaches with respect to its receipting practices. Also, one of the directors of the charity was determined by CRA to be an ineligible individual. Here is an excerpt from the notice of intention to revoke letter issued by CRA:
September 12, 2014
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!
September 06, 2014
We recently reviewed the T3010 information for 2012. The database was prepared by the Charities Directorate of CRA in June 2014 and covers about 85,477 charities which is almost all of the 2012 T3010 returns. Canadian registered charities were required to disclose on the 2012 T3010 “Did the Charity Carry on Political Activities During the Fiscal Year?” (line 2400) and “Enter the Total Amount spent by the Charity on these activities” (line 5000)
September 01, 2014
Following up on the 2014 Budget, Finance has released draft tax legislation for consultation. The changes with respect to bequests to registered charities are from Budget 2014, and will allow some greater flexibility for claiming the charitable donations against either the estate or a trust. This bequest proposal has generally been welcomed. It will deal with some situations were there is a mismatch between the income a deceased person or their estate has and the amount of gift left to charity.
August 28, 2014
The CRA yesterday released its guidance on ineligible individuals (CG-024). The new rules were announced in the 2011 Federal Budget and it is good to see CRA finally providing its guidance on ineligible individuals.
August 28, 2014
Andrew Coyne recently wrote an opinion piece in the National Post in which he supports the idea of eliminating the tax credit for donations to registered charities. The article is entitled "Problem with charities isn’t their politics, it’s their generous tax credit". Mr. Coyne is by no means the first person to call for such action. It is difficult to know whether this is just another opinion piece or if there will be traction with his line of argument.
August 26, 2014
In this article entitled "Partial Glimpse at 2013 T3010 Filings Dealing with Political Activities by Canadian Registered Charities" I discuss the 51,000 Canadian registered charities have had their T3010 for 2013 added to the CRA database so far. This 51,000 represents about 60% of registered Canadian charities. In a partial glimpse of the 2013 T3010 information about 333 of 51,000 charities reported so far carrying on any political activities during their 2013 fiscal year, whether by volunteer, staff or spending. A similar number also said they spent money on political activities.
August 23, 2014
On a number of occasions we have assembled a list of Canadian charities that had lost their registrations for cause. We have now updated the list to August 2014. This list contains over 5 years information on charities deregistered as a result of audit, which used to be referred to as “for cause”. This list does not include registered charities who were revoked for “failure to file” their annual return or asked for voluntary revocation or those that were revoked for the sole reason that they were corporately dissolved.
August 18, 2014
As I have noted before I am concerned that many thousands of Federal non-profit corporations have not continued to the new CNCA and at some point after October 17, 2014 they will be dissolved by Industry Canada. That is a particular problem for registered charities in that CRA will eventually revoke the registered charities status of those charities.
August 07, 2014
Over the last 20 years CRA has revoked a number of charities for ostensibly being involved in partisan political activities, or exceeding the 10% of resources on political activities, or for having an unstated political purpose. In light of all the interest in charities and political activities we thought that it would be a good idea to provide a list of CRA letters that I am aware of relating to those revocations. For those who are interested in the issue of charities and political activities these are important documents.
August 06, 2014
CRA has released a letter which discusses whether GST/HST applies to membership dues. This particular letter involved a non-profit corporation seeking a GST/HST exemption for dues paid by its members. Based on the information provided by the non-profit corporation, CRA concluded that members were receiving a direct benefit as a result of their membership and therefore did not meet the GST/HST exemption criteria set out in section 17 of Part VI of Schedule V.
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