What's New from the Charities Directorate of CRA

September 01, 2014

Finance consults on draft tax legislation on bequests to Canadian charities and trust taxation

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 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 gift left to charity.   

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August 28, 2014

CRA releases ineligible individual guidance

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.

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August 28, 2014

Andrew Coyne: “Problem with charities isn’t their politics, it’s their generous tax credit”

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

Partial Glimpse at 2013 T3010 Filings Dealing with Political Activities by Canadian Charities

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. 

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August 23, 2014

Canadian Registered Charities Recently Revoked by CRA for cause or as a result of audit - 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.

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August 19, 2014

Globe and Mail “Canada Revenue Agency delists foreign charities”

Jeff Gray recently wrote a piece in the Globe and Mail on a quirky category of foreign charities who are given qualified donee status by virtue of being on the "List of registered foreign charitable organizations that have received a gift from Her Majesty in right of Canada".  I have been getting calls from Canadian charities that conduct foreign activities and professional advisors wondering whether this has any impact on them.   The short answer is no.  

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August 18, 2014

The CNCA and its impact on Canadian registered charities

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. 

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August 10, 2014

CRA numbers comparing assets and revenues for 2011 to 2012 for the Charity Sector in Canada


I recently received from the Charities Directorate of CRA some charts showing the combined assets and revenues of the Canadian registered charity sector for 2011 and 2012.   A few quick comments:

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August 07, 2014

Revocation letters by CRA for charities and political activities - over the last 20 years.

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.   

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August 06, 2014

CRA letter on the application of GST/HST to membership dues

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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July 26, 2014

Focus by media on CRA political activity audits - some preliminary thoughts

In the last week there has been a large number of articles in the Canadian media on Canadian charities and political activities.  I would make a few preliminary points that sometimes get lost in the coverage.  

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July 25, 2014

How much is CRA planning on spending to deal with the issue of charities and political activities?

In the 2012 Federal Budget the Conservative government announced that it was allocating $8 million for various initiatives related to charities and political activities.   More recently papers have been describing a $13 million budget.   I wondered about the difference and wrote to CRA  to request a clarification.  Here is what I heard back from CRA.

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July 13, 2014

CRA revokes Jesus of Bethlehem Worship Centre as a charity - cites ineligible individuals

Finally.  It took more than 3 years but CRA has identified that it has revoked a charity for in part having "ineligible individuals" controlling the organization.  I was sure that I was going to die of old age before that ever happened!  Amongst a number of grounds CRA notes "The audit also revealed that the board of directors of the Organization includes “ineligible individuals” as defined in the Act. In particular, two directors of the Organization were directors of The Heaven’s Gate Healing Ministry at a time when it engaged in conduct which constituted a serious breach of the requirements for registration under the Act, for which its registration was revoked in 2009."

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July 11, 2014

Cathy Hawara’s speech on constitutional framework, political activities, compliance and IT

In May, Cathy Hawara, the Director General of the Charities Directorate delivered a speech which touches on a number of important issues such as the constitutional framework for charities, political activities by registered charities, independence of the regulator, compliance approach and IT modernization. It is well worth reading.  

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July 10, 2014

Canadian Charity Law Association webinars

The Canadian Charity Law Association is presenting some webinars.  For more information see: www.charitylawassociation.ca or https://www.facebook.com/CanadianCharityLawAssociation

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July 01, 2014

Blumbergs’ Snapshot of the Canadian Charity Sector 2012

We have just released the Blumbergs’ Snapshot of the Canadian Charity Sector 2012.  The Canadian charity sector has grown again.   The Canadian charity sector is a vital part of Canadian society and economy with revenue of over $223 billion and expenditures of about $218 billion.

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June 27, 2014

CRA letter on taxable benefits to employees and opting to forego a non-cash gift

CRA recently released a letter which discusses whether an employee will realize a taxable benefit if the employee opts to forego a non-cash gift valued over $500 that he or she is otherwise entitled to and directs the employer to make a cash gift of a specified amount to a specified registered charity.

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June 27, 2014

CRA Letter on donations of fossils

CRA recently released a letter which discusses whether the transfer of the custody of a fossil to a qualified donee can be considered a charitable gift. CRA concluded that this would be a question of both fact and law but there would need to be a transfer of property present.

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June 27, 2014

CRA letter on donations of ecogifts

CRA recently released a letter which discusses whether the donation of a conservation easement by a landowner would be considered a gift for tax purposes. 

CRA provided general comments on ecological gifts. 

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June 26, 2014

Now Magazine “Men’s rights group used feminists’ names on charity application”

I never thought I would live to see the day.   Yes a popular magazine has a story that revolves around the T2050 - Application to Register a Charity Under the Income Tax Act.   Now Magazine has an article entitled "Men’s rights group used feminists’ names on charity application" in which it alleges that a registered charity may have put in a deceptive charity application to the Charities Directorate.  

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June 05, 2014

Narul Hassan vs. The Queen -fraudulent receipting and fraud upon the public

In Narul Hassan vs. The Queen it is another false receipting case.   "It appears almost certain that this program involved a fraud on the Canadian tax system, and therefore on the Canadian public. It is not clear to me whether Mr. Hassan was complicit or merely duped."

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June 04, 2014

David, R. et al. v. the Queen (TCC) - CRA files appeal

CRA has appealed the decision of David, R. et al. v. The Queen (TCC) to the Federal Court of Appeal. This case involved six separate appeals with respect to the disallowance of a tax credit by CRA for a purported charitable gift to CanAfrica International Foundation. The judge waived penalties and allowed the cash contribution of the individuals.

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May 27, 2014

CRA letter on Prescribed Prizes for Olympic Athletes

CRA recently released a letter which discusses whether cash prizes awarded to Olympic athletes should be taxed. CRA stated that a cash prize does not qualify as a prescribed prize and provided the following comments:

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May 16, 2014

Kathryn Kossow v. Her Majesty The Queen - leave to appeal dismissed with costs by SCC on May 15

The Kathryn Kossow v. Her Majesty The Queen application for leave to appeal was dismissed with costs by the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) on May 15, 2014.   The Federal Court of Appeal released its adverse decision against the taxpayers in December 2013. The taxpayers filed Leave to Appeal against this decision at the Supreme Court of Canada on March 7, 2014. Leave to Appeal was dismissed with costs on May 15, 2014.  Marechaux and Kossow are the two big decisions that the SCC has denied leave to appeal dealing with abusive charity gifting tax schemes.  

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May 05, 2014

7th International Charity Regulators meeting in Melbourne

Here is a note from the New Zealand Charities Services, which is a branch of the Department of Internal Affairs.  It describes an interesting meeting held in Australia between different charity regulators including the Charities Directorate.   

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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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