What's New from the Charities Directorate of CRA

July 29, 2016

Cathy Hawara, Director General of the Charities Directorate, has been promoted and new DG appointed

In May 2016 we found out that Cathy Hawara, the Director General of the Charities Directorate, had received a promotion and become the Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Legislative Policy and Regulatory Affairs Branch of the CRA.  Cathy had been Director General of the Charities Directorate for approximately six years.

read more

July 28, 2016

CRA releases new online questionnaire - Is charitable registration right for you?

The Canada Revenue Agency ('CRA') has recently released a new online questionnaire which is designed to provide the general public with basic knowledge to help make an informed decision when deciding whether or not to apply for charitable registration.  

read more

July 27, 2016

Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law Institute 2016 - October 28, 2016

The Blumbergs' Canadian Charity Law Institute 2016 will be held on Friday October 28, 2016 at Oakham House in Toronto.  The Institute always has a full day of speakers discussing legal and ethical issues affecting Canadian non-profits and charities.  The tentative presentation topics are listed below.  

read more

July 27, 2016

Blumbergs launches charitydata.ca beta website to enhance transparency of Canadian charities

Blumbergs has just released a new website with over 10 years T3010 information for each Canadian registered charity.  The site is a beta being tested but if you are interested you can visit the website at www.charitydata.ca It is free and hopefully useful. If you have any feedback just let us know.

read more

July 27, 2016

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. 

read more

July 27, 2016

Tax Court of Canada decision in Duguay, N. v. The Queen (TCC)

In a recent decision of the Tax Court of Canada, Duguay, N. v. The Queen, a taxpayer claimed charitable donations made to a Canadian registered charity providing housing for low-income people and seniors residences but these were denied and the taxpayer decided to appeal the decision.   

read more

July 27, 2016

CRA releases updated information on retention period for church offering envelopes

CRA recently released new information on their position regarding the retention period for church offering envelopes. CRA has indicated that starting in 2016 (and including church offering envelopes for the 2015 tax year), church offering envelopes (when used as a source document) will need to be kept for six years from the end of the tax year to which the envelope relates.  Previously these envelopes were only required to be kept for two years.  

read more

July 22, 2016

Mariano v. The Queen - massive cost award against GLGI of close of $500,000

In a recent decision Mariano v. The Queen, the Tax Court of Canada (TCC) awarded a very large cost award in favour of CRA (who was the respondent in the matter) and against GLGI, the promoter, and some of its investors.  The Court ordered costs of $491,136.95 minus the costs of two expert witnesses which will have to be determined.  The TCC also noted with respect to CRA "The Respondent was totally successful in the trials of the above matters involving a charitable donation scheme which spanned over 25 days of hearings including one week of oral argument supplemented by detailed written argument given by both sides."  Please note they did not say largely succesful - they said "totally" succesful.   It is quite clear that the TCC after many many years is getting impatient with listening to arguments in favour of what the CRA used to call "abusive charity gifting tax schemes".   

July 16, 2016

Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc. -  preventing poverty is not relief of poverty

A recent case, Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc. v. The Queen, 2016 FCA 193, dealt with an annulment of a registered charity.  CRA had annulled the registered charity status of Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc. in this Notice of Annulment of Registration in 2013 that we had previously posted on our website.   Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada Inc had appealed the decision to CRA but CRA confirmed the Notice of Annulment in April of 2015.   Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal and in a decision on June 24, 2016 the Federal Court of Appeal upheld the CRA decision and dismissed the appeal.  There are really two issues in the case.  First, is the 'prevention of poverty' a recognized charitable purpose as opposed to 'relief of poverty' which is one of the four heads of charity.  The Court found that prevention of poverty is not a charitable purpose.  Second, annulments are far more unusual than revocation as a result of audit and therefore the case provides some clarity standards for review of annulment.  Essentially, annulments being contested will be treated by the FCA in a similar way to a revocation.

read more

July 15, 2016

Markou v. The Queen - deals with a Canadian tax shelter scheme - a little cash gets a big receipt!

Markou v. The Queen, 2016 TCC 137 is a super boring case dealing with the jurisdiction of the Tax Court of Canada and whether such court can make a determination as to whether certain proceeds are part of a Quistclose trust.  Beyond whether there are or are not enough legal gymnastics in this decision there is lots of interesting background on a complicated tax scheme from 2001 that probably few have heard of.  The leveraged donation scheme known as "The Donation Program for Medical Science and Technology" was implemented by Trinity Capital Corporation from 2001 - 2003.  An example of one donor is that he put in $3,520,000 and received a tax receipt for $11 million which would save him about $3.2 million in Federal taxes and $1.9m in Ontario taxes.    

read more

July 13, 2016

Deluca Case - CRA not responsible for your unsuccessful investment in a charity tax shelter

Deluca v Canada, 2016 ONSC 3865, is an Ontario Court of Justice claim by Mr. Deluca against the CRA.  Mr. Deluca had invested over $100,000 in a tax shelter involving a barter network and 'donations' to a registered charity.  When CRA denied his donation claims Mr. Deluca sued the CRA because he argued they owed him a duty and they were slow in revoking the status of a registered charity.  The courts quite harshly dismissed Mr. Deluca's claim.  I guess you can summarize the case as -all because a business and a registered charity encourages you to get involved in a questionable donation scheme and CRA does not accept the validity of the donation you cannot use CRA as an 'insurance policy' to cover your losses by suing CRA.

read more

July 11, 2016

Canada Revenue Agency revokes the registration of the ACTLAP Children’s Foundation (A.C.F.)

The Canada Revenue Agency ('CRA') recently revoked the charitable registration of the ACTLAP Children's Foundation (A.C.F.).  CRA revoked the charitable status on the basis that the organization had operated primarily for the non-charitable purpose of furthering a tax shelter donation arrangement, the Pharma Gifts International Inc. program. The charity agreed to accept alleged gifts of property from participants in this scheme and act as a receipting agent.  Over $64 million dollars in charitable receipts were improperly issued for donations of cash and pharmaceuticals. 

read more

June 29, 2016

Canadian registered charities no longer required to register as a charity in Quebec

As a result of the 2016 Quebec Budget, Canadian registered charities are no longer required to complete a separate charitable registration in Quebec in order to be able to issue tax receipts to donors in Quebec.

read more

June 28, 2016

Department of Finance will review of Federal Tax Expenditures

The Department of Finance has established an advisory committee to review tax expenditures.  This will be part of an initiative to reduce "poorly targeted and inefficient programs, wasteful spending, and ineffective and obsolete Government initiatives."  What are tax expenditures?  Finance notes "The tax system can be used to achieve public policy objectives through the application of special measures such as low tax rates, exemptions, deductions, deferrals and credits. The Department of Finance Canada publishes cost estimates and projections for these measures annually in the Tax Expenditures and Evaluations publication. The tax measures presented in the Tax Expenditures and Evaluations publication are the responsibility of the Minister of Finance."  

read more

June 24, 2016

Lack of transparency continues when the Canadian government makes a gift to a foreign charity

On the CRA website there is a list of foreign charities that received a gift from the Canadian government.  CRA has just released a new Guidance CG - 023 Qualified donee: Foreign charities that have received a gift from Her Majesty in right of Canada which discusses how foreign charities are placed on the list.

read more

June 19, 2016

Pre-budget consultation process submissions for the Federal 2017 Budget is due by August 5, 2016

The Finance Committee of the House of Commons has requested pre-budget submission be provided by August 5, 2016.  If you have ideas that could help Canada be a better country you might want to make a submission.

read more

June 18, 2016

CBC “Charity tax fraud to cost brothers their freedom”

The CBC in an article entitled "Charity tax fraud to cost brothers their freedom" how two brothers were each sentenced to over 4 years for being involved in charity fraud over nearly $5 million. It shows how the CRA is increasingly using criminal convictions instead of just revocations.  The judge described the fraud as "industrial scale".   The article notes "The total number of false claims over the life of the scheme was more than 1,700 for a purported $11.4 million of alleged donations." Keep in mind that this was only issuing $5 million in fraudulent receipts which is a tiny tiny amount compared to some other schemes out there.

read more

June 17, 2016

CRA releases new online registered charity information request forms that will increase transparency

CRA recently released two new online registered charity information request forms which have been created to simplify the process when requesting certain types of information from CRA.  Previously this information was typically requested by sending a letter/fax to CRA.  Now it can be done online.  This is a giant step forward in making it easier for Canadians to be able to access public information from the CRA's Charities Directorate on Canadian registered charities. 

read more

May 27, 2016

AFP Toronto Fundraising Day:  The Time is Now: Government Relations for Canadian Charities

I am pleased to be on a panel for AFP GTA Fundraising Day with Caroline Riseboro, Bruce MacDonald, Hilary Pearson, and Stewart Wong.  The topic of the panel will be "The Time is Now: Government Relations for Canadian Charities".

read more

May 26, 2016

CRA letter on donation of capital property and donation receipt

CRA recently released a letter which discusses whether an official receipt issued for property donated in kind can include an amount less than the fair market value of the property.  CRA cited section 3501 of the Income Tax Act (Canada) Regulations to confirm that an official donation receipt should include the amount of the fair market value or the deemed fair market value of the property, in certain circumstances.  

read more

May 25, 2016

Total revenue received from all sources outside Canada by Canadian Registered Charities in 2014

Here is our article "Total revenue received from all sources outside Canada by Canadian Registered Charities in 2014".  It provides a list of Canadian charities that received foreign income in their 2014 fiscal year.  Foreign income for Canadian charities has risen to $1.8 billion - making it an important and growing source of revenue for Canadian charities.  

read more

May 22, 2016

Industry Canada sends out thousands of final notices of pending dissolution to Federal CCA NPOs

Industry Canada has sent out notices to thousands of Canada Corporations Act (CCA) corporations warning them of their pending dissolution as they have failed to transition to the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (“CNCA”). Industry Canada wants to wind down the CCA and in order to do so they need to remove all remaining corporations under the CCA.  It appears that up to 2000 of such corporations may be registered charities.  Industry Canada had generally held off sending the notices to registered charities but the transition deadline of October 2014 is now over 1.5 years old.  

read more

May 18, 2016

CRA information on assisting people and charities impacted by the wildfires in Alberta

The Canada Revenue Agency ('CRA') recently published a Question and Answer piece on its website which provides information on providing assistance to people impacted by the wildfires in Alberta and information for registered charities that may have been impacted by the wildfires or would like to provide assistance.  Here is the CRA link: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/whtsnw/frtmcmrry-qstns-nswrs-eng.html?utm_source=charities&utm_medium=eml

May 10, 2016

CRA letter on tribal council qualifying as a public body performing a function of government

CRA recently released a letter which considers whether a Tribal Council should be considered a public body performing a function of government within the meaning of paragraph 149(1)(c).  

read more

May 10, 2016

Application for leave to appeal denied by SCC in Ray Castro v. Her Majesty the Queen

We have previously blogged about the decision of the Tax Court of Canada in David, R. et al. v. the Queen (TCC) (herehere and here).  In the previous decision of Canada v. Castro, 2015 FCA 225, the Minister appealed the decision in David v. The Queen by asserting that the Tax Court of Canada erred in law.

read more

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
Download vCard

Connect

Locate

Blumberg Segal LLP
Barristers & Solicitors
#1202 - 390 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5H 2Y2 Canada

Charity Law List

Join Blumbergs' non-profit and charities newsletter
View recent issue: July 2016