What's New from the Charities Directorate of CRA

July 06, 2015

Receiving CRA Notices via E-mail

The Canada Revenue Agency ("CRA") has provided a new option for charities to receive the latest notices from the Charities Directorate and the annual reminder to file the Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return, by e-mail (rather than by regular mail). 

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July 05, 2015

CRA guidance on the 2015 Federal budget released

The CRA has posted guidance on the recent 2015 Federal Budget and specifically the provisions relating to donations involving private corporation shares or real estate and the ability of registered charities to invest in limited partnerships.

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July 03, 2015

“Top 20 Charity Law Issues for Canadian Registered Charities” in Ottawa July 15

On July 15, 2015 Mark Blumberg will be delivering a 2 hour presentation entitled "Top 20 Charity Law Issues for Canadian Registered Charities" in Ottawa.  The presentation is complimentary but if you are interested in attending you should register here.

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June 24, 2015

Carleton University “Public policy for philanthropy, charities and nonprofits” - July 16

I will be on a panel at Carleton University on July 16 discussing "Public policy for philanthropy, charities and nonprofits– The issue we cannot ignore" with Cathy Barr, Senior Vice-President, Imagine Canada and Liz Sutherland, Policy Advisor, Ontario Nonprofit Network.

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June 24, 2015

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. 

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June 24, 2015

De Santis v. The Queen, 2015 TCC 95 (CanLII) - valuation of wine for receipting purposes

In De Santis v. The Queen, 2015 TCC 95 (CanLII) CRA challenged the valuation of wine.  In this case the Tax Court of Canada sided with the donor as the CRA had not introduced evidence to rebut the evidence of the donor.  

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June 22, 2015

CRA letter on required retention period of books and records

CRA recently released a letter discussing the required retention period, according to the Income Tax Act (Canada) for the books and records of a corporation (non-profits and registered charities), including the required retention period for a corporation that has dissolved.  

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June 22, 2015

CRA letter on tax treatment of lottery revenue received by non-profit

CRA recently released a letter which discussed whether the lottery income received by a non-profit organization (the 'Association') is subject to taxation in the hands of the Association. The Association provided funding for physical and recreational activities.

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June 10, 2015

Rae v. Canada (National Revenue) - Court refuses to certify class action against CRA

In Rae v. Canada (National Revenue), 2015 FC 707 (CanLII), Ms. Rose Marie Joan Rae had invested in what CRA terms an "abusive charity gifting tax scheme".  She filed her 2013 tax return in 2014 and has yet to receive her Notice of Assessment from CRA.    Ms Rae wanted to create a class action against CRA for herself and others.  Ms Rae wanted to force CRA to issue the Notice of Assessment.  The Court ultimately rejected the class action proposal.  

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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 29, 2015

CRA updates guide Registering a Charity for Income Tax Purposes T4063(E)

The CRA in May 2015 updated their guide Registering a Charity for Income Tax Purposes T4063(E).  The Guide is the main source of information from CRA to assist the public with charity applications.  The main change between the 2013 version of the Guide and the 2015 version of the Guide is how CRA treats draft applications for charitable status.  Here is a redlined comparison of Registering a Charity for Income Tax Purposes T4063(E) comparing 2015 to 2013.

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May 28, 2015

CRA letter on tax exempt status of affordable housing provider

CRA recently released a letter that discusses the tax implications of an affordable housing provider (an entity described in paragraph 149(1)(l) of the Income Tax Act (the “Act”)) that wanted to provide long-term leasing of its parking spots to a business owned by one of its board members. The housing provider intended to lease excess parking spots and charge the same rate that it charged to its tenants.   The housing provider did not anticipate receiving a significant amount of rental income from leasing the parking spots.

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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 21, 2015

Fundamentals of Political Activities by Canadian Registered Charities

The involvement of charities in political activities has been a major story since 2012. The 2012 Federal Budget introduced new reporting requirements for charities for 2013 but does not fundamentally affect the ability of charities to engage in political activities. Significant resources have been provided to the Charities Directorate to audit charities who conduct political activities. On Tuesday September 22, 2015 we will conduct a 1/2 day program from 9AM-12PM entitled Fundamentals of Political Activities by Canadian Registered Charities.  

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May 18, 2015

Presentation to the Université de Montréal Charity Law Conference 2015

I was delighted to present as part of a panel at the Université de Montréal Charity Law Conference 2015 on May 8, 2015.  The panel was entitled The Modern Charities Regulator and my presentation was entitled "Overview of the Regulatory Environment in Canada for Registered Charities".

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May 18, 2015

Article in Bottom Line “Ontario non-profits await new legislation” by Mark Blumberg

The Bottom Line recently published an article entitled Ontario non-profits await new legislation by Mark Blumberg.  The article discusses options for Ontario non-profits including waiting for ONCA or moving forward to the new CNCA and skipping ONCA altogether. 

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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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May 17, 2015

CBC says “Giving Tree Foundation to be stripped of charity status”

CBC recently reported in an article "Giving Tree Foundation to be stripped of charity status: Charity that gives $2M a year to children's causes faces demise after tax review".  CBC notes "The group has a relationship with EquiGenesis Corp., a company that designed a complicated donation tax strategy that helped the Giving Tree Foundation quickly raise millions of dollars after it was re-organized five years ago."

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May 17, 2015

Toronto Star article on Fraser Institute and political activities

In a recent Toronto Star article entitled "Critics say Fraser Institute letter highlights ‘enormous lack of clarity’ in charity-audit rules" the Toronto Star discusses a letter from the Fraser Institute to supporters. The article raises some interesting points but I have some concerns with the article as well.

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May 12, 2015

CRA releases updated GST/HST Information Sheets for Charities

CRA has recently released an updated Information Sheet on GST/HST Guidelines for Charities. The Information Sheet provides basic information on how the GST/HST applies to many issues commonly faced by charities and replaces the previous Information Sheet from June 2011.

CRA has also released an updated Information Sheet on 'How a Charity Completes Its GST/HST Return'.  This Information Sheet explains how a charity that is a GST/HST registrant calculates its net tax and completes its GST/HST return and replaces the previously Information Sheet from June 2011.  
 

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April 28, 2015

Fundamentals of Receipting by Canadian Charities [SOLD OUT]

Properly issuing official donation receipts has been challenging for many registered charities.  According to the CRA, 89% of registered charities that are audited are not correctly issuing official donation receipts.  Issuing incorrect receipts can result in revocation or penalties. It is easier to do it right than fix problems later! Here is a new half-day program from Blumbergs entitled "Fundamentals of Receipting by Canadian Charities".

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April 24, 2015

Political Activity Audits and the CRA Program Update 2015

We have blogged about the CRA Program Update 2015 separately but wanted to focus here on what the update provides in terms of information on the political activity audits of CRA's Charities Directorate.  CRA should be commended for publishing a program update.  I am certainly not aware of any regulatory requirement that they need to, but the program update does provide useful information for the charity sector.  In the program update you have to read pretty far into the 5000 word document to see the "Charities and Political Activities" update but it is important so we have created a separate blog post. 

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April 23, 2015

Sowa v. Canada - FCA dismisses appeal of disallowed donation

Sowa v. Canada involves an alleged donation of $10,250 in 2006 by Emily Sowa.   The Tax Court of Canada "doubted the truthfulness of the appellant’s claim that she donated $10,250.00."   Also the purported receipt did not contain all the required elements.  The FCA did not find any error on the TCC's part and dismissed the appeal with costs.

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April 23, 2015

SCC denies leave to appeal in Humanics Institute case

The case of Humanics Institute v. Minister of National Revenue deals with the refusal of CRA to register an organization as a charity in the category of advancement of religion.  The Humanics Institute had lost in the Federal Court of Appeal and now the Supreme Court has denied them leave to appeal.  

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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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