CRA publishes new web page on “How to get information about a charity”

February 14, 2013 | By: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Mark Blumberg
Topics: News, What's New from the Charities Directorate of CRA, Canadian Charity Law, Canadian Charity Statistics

The Charities Directorate has just published a new page which sets out how members of the public can obtain information about registered charities.

Here is the link to the CRA page:  http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/cntct/nfrmtn-eng.html

Here is the text of the CRA page (but better to visit the actual page as there are a number of links contained on the CRA website:

“How to get information about a charity You can get general and specific information about registered or revoked charities online, by contacting the charity, or by making an informal information request or a formal access to information request with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Note:
To find information about registered Canadian amateur athletic associations and other qualified donees, go to Other qualified donees listings.

Search for a charity on the Charities Listings
The CRA maintains the Charities Listings, a public, searchable list of Canadian registered charities that you can use to find out if a charity is registered, revoked, annulled, suspended, or penalized. You can also find a charity’s contact information, general activities, and financial information, which may show how much of the charity’s resources are devoted to charitable activities.

Once you have searched the Charities Listings, you can either:

•view the results online in full view or in Quick View (a user-friendly display that includes graphics);
•download the results by following the download instructions; or
•request an electronic version of the results by calling 613-946-2412 or 1-877-442-2899, or by sending an email to .
Complementing the Charities Listings is Charity Focus, a tool that was developed by Imagine Canada in partnership with the CRA that provides an in-depth year-to-year comparison of a charity’s financial information. Charities can also upload documents such as mission statements, program information, annual reports, and financial statements to Charity Focus.

Contact the charity
The charity itself is in the best position to explain and provide information about its programs and status.

To find a charity’s contact information, go to the Charities Listings.

Request information
The confidentiality provisions of the Income Tax Act (section 241) prevent the CRA from discussing the affairs of a particular organization without the consent of an authorized representative.

However, certain information about registered or revoked charities is available to the public.

The CRA can provide:

•a copy of a charity’s governing documents, including its statement of purpose;
•a copy of the public portions of a charity’s application for registration and notification of registration, including any conditions or warnings;
•the names of the individuals who at any time were a charity’s directors/trustees and the periods during which they were its directors/trustees;
•a copy of the public information from a charity’s annual information return and financial statements;
•a copy of letters the CRA has sent to a charity about the grounds for revocation or annulment;
•a copy of letters or notices the CRA has sent to a charity about a suspension or an assessment of tax or penalty (other than the amount of revocation tax); and
•a copy of a charity’s application, and information filed in support of that application, for:
?re-designation as a charitable organization, private foundation, or public foundation
?designation as an associated charity
?permission to accumulate property.
The CRA cannot provide:

•information about a charity’s donors;
•confirmation that an application for charitable registration has been denied;
•confidential information about a charity’s officials;
•confidential information from a charity’s annual information return; or
•information relating to a charity’s dealings with the CRA, such as:
?whether the charity is under investigation or audit
?the status of an investigation or audit
?the next steps of an investigation or audit
?how and where the CRA gets its leads.
Make an informal information request
Informal requests:

•are free;
•are handled directly by the CRA’s Charities Directorate;
•are generally answered sooner than formal requests; and
•usually provide the same information as formal requests.
If you are a member of the media and you would like to make an informal information request, contact a media relations representative.

If you are a charity, donor, or member of the general public and you would like to make an informal information request, contact a Charities Directorate client service representative.

Make a formal access to information request
Formal requests:

•have processing fees;
•are handled by the CRA’s Access to Information and Privacy Directorate in consultation with the Charities Directorate;
•generally take longer to process than informal requests; and
•usually provide the same information as informal requests.
If you are a member of the media and you would like to make a formal information request, contact a media relations representative.

If you are a charity, donor, or member of the general public and you would like to make a formal information request, go to Access to Information Request Form.

For more information, go to Access to information and privacy at the Canada Revenue Agency.

Related links
•Information available to the public from a registered charity’s information return”

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
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