Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law List - January 2012
1) Being Good at Doing Good 2012 in Toronto - Feb 13 and 14 - you don’t want to miss this conference
We have about 185 people registered for the Being Good at Doing Good conference on February 13 and 14, 2012 organized by the Charity Law Information Program. Not surprising in light of the excellent speakers. Here is the website with information on speakers and registration: http://www.clipconference.wildapricot.org/ There will be many great presenters including Kevin Donovan of the Toronto Star, Louis Lerner, Head of the Tax Exempt Section of the IRS and representatives from CRA, the Charities Commission of England and Wales and many other experts on charity governance, financial management and compliance.
2) Receipting Kit for Canadian Registered Charities launched by the Charity Law Information Program
The Charity Law Information Program (CLIP) has just released the Receipting Kit for Canadian Registered Charities. The kit is 25 pages and provides an overview of what a registered charity needs to generally know about receipting. As well, there is an attachment which is about 115 pages long with CRA guidance on receipting and even a CRA auditor checklist on receipting.
3) Canadian Charities and Free Transparency Tools - look before you donate
There are a couple of interesting websites which allow much easier searching of information from the T3010 databases. One is CharityFocus.ca (discussed by me here). Another interesting website is http://www.opencharity.ca. Opencharity.ca allows for visitors to search not only by charity name but also directors name.
4) CRA letters to Canadian registered charities when revocation for cause
For a number of years CRA has been aggressively targeting charities that are involved with abusive tax shelter schemes or in serious non-compliance with their legal obligations under the Income Tax Act. In some cases CRA puts out a news release but that only provides a small amount of detail as to the concerns of the regulator. Anyone can request from CRA copies of letters sent by the Charities Directorate to a charity which provide a lot more detailed information. Here are copies of news releases and more importantly in some cases the letters from CRA to the charity.
THE CLIP CONFERENCE “BEING GOOD AT DOING GOOD
5) Being Good at Doing Good 2012 in Toronto - Feb 13 and 14
There will be another two day Being Good at Doing Good conference on February 13 and 14, 2012 organized by the Charity Law Information Program on charity governance, financial management and compliance. Here is the registration page: http://www.clipconference.wildapricot.org/ The conference is “Doing Good” at registrations with over 185 people signed up so far.
6) Alice Holt from Charity Commission of England and Wales will be speaking in Toronto in February
Alice Holt, the Head of Legal Services for the London office of the Charity Commission of England and Wales will be speaking at CLIP “Being Good at Doing Good” Conference in Toronto. We are delighted to have Alice join us.
7) Ken Berger, head of the US watchdog “Charity Navigator” will be speaking in Toronto
Ken Berger, the President & Chief Executive Officer, of the US charity watch dog group Charity Navigator will be speaking at the CLIP conference “Being Good at Doing Good” on the subject of “The Battle for Transparency in the Non-Profit Sector”.
8) IRS is coming to Toronto - head of IRS Tax Exempt division will be speaking in Toronto
Lois G. Lerner, the Director of the Exempt Organizations Division of the Internal Revenue Service will be speaking at the CLIP Conference. http://www.clipconference.wildapricot.org/ As head of the Exempt Organizations Division she is responsible for the regulation of US charities or exempt organizations including registration, education, and compliance. She will be giving two presentations - one focusing on why regulators care about governance and the second on top compliance issues for US charities. We will also have speakers from the CRA and Charity Commission of England and Wales and other experts in charity governance, financial controls and compliance.
9) Investigative Reporter Kevin Donovan of the Toronto Star to Speak at CLIP Conference
The Toronto Star’s Investigative Reporter Kevin Donovan, who frequently covers the charitable sector, will be presenting at the CLIP conference. Increasingly the media has been focusing on charities and certain hot button issues. Those involved with charity governance, financial management and communications will find his comments very useful.
COMPLIANCE AND MISUSE OF CHARITY RESOURCES
10) Natalie Worsfold Blog on GLGI very interesting with copies of court documents
Ontario tax litigator, Natalie Worsfold, has an interesting blog called “Trouble with Taxes”. She has a page on the GLGI gifting arrangement. Of particular note is the lengthy PDF of court documents.
11) CRA revokes two more charities for involvement in charity tax schemes
The CRA has revoked for cause “Word of Christ Ministry” and “Hope Church of God Deliverance Ministries” for involvement in promoted charity schemes.
12) National Post article “Judge OKs suit against charity tax ‘scheme’”
On January 23, 2012 the National Post published an article entitled “Judge OKs suit against charity tax ‘scheme’” by Joseph Brean which discusses a class action lawsuit against various parties relating to the “Donations for Canada Gift Program”.
13) Banyan Tree Class Action Lawsuit Receives court approval - defendants pay 11+ million
The first class action lawsuit involving what CRA terms an “abusive charity gifting tax scheme” has settled at a Settlement and Class Counsel Fee Approval Hearing that was held on January 17, 2012 in Toronto. The material for that hearing is on the Scarfone Hawkins website and is quite interesting reading providing lots of interesting details about the scheme.
WHAT’S NEW FROM FINANCE AND CRA
14) 2011 Canadian Federal Budget passes - new provisions affecting charities and RCAAAs in force
The 2011 Federal Budget received Royal Assent on December 16, 2011. There were a number of changes that affect charities, RCAAAs and other types of qualified donees that were in the budget.
15) CRA releases Charity Connection No. 11 - January 2012 - Special Edition: Budget 2011
The CRA has published Charity Connection No. 11 on the 2011 Federal Budget. The publication highlights some of the major changes for registered charities, RCAAAs and other qualified donees. There will be more information on certain other budgetary provisions in the near future such as the “ineligible individual” provisions.
16) CRA revises Pamphlet “Gifts and Income Tax P113(E) Rev. 11” to reflect recent budget changes
The CRA has revised its Pamphlet “Gifts and Income Tax P113(E) Rev. 11” to reflect recent budget changes including reducing the incentives for packaged flow through donation schemes and other provisions from the 2011 Federal Budget.
17) Municipal and public bodies performing a function of government in Canada - will need to apply
The CRA will be preparing a list of “Municipal and public bodies performing a function of government in Canada” which are essentially certain First Nations bands or groups who perform certain government functions. These “Municipal and public bodies performing a function of government in Canada” are qualified donees and can issue official donation receipts for gifts to them. CRA has noted on their website: “As a result of Budget 2011, municipal and public bodies performing a function of government in Canada must apply to be added to a list maintained by the CRA to become or continue to be qualified donees. We are currently developing the process by which these bodies must apply. Meanwhile, municipal and public bodies performing a function of government continue to be qualified donees until the application process is finalized. At that time, these bodies will
have to apply to maintain this status.” As new information becomes available we will post it on our website.
18) CRA’s Annual Report to Parliament for 2010-2011
Here is the CRA’s Annual Report to Parliament for 2010-2011. It is 173 pages long. There are a number of references to charities which I have highlighted.
CROSS-BORDER CHARITABLE ACTIVITIES
19) Recent CRA’s Foreign Activity Guidance Presentation by Mark Blumberg
Here is a copy of a recent presentation on CRA’s Foreign Activity Guidance that I presented to World Vision’s Law Day.
20) So how much do Canadian charities receive from foreign sources according to the T3010 Returns?
There has been a little political firestorm recently over US foundations funding of certain Canadian environmental charities. So how much revenue actually comes to Canada from foreign countries including the US? The answer seems to be about $831 million. That is from Line 4575 “Total revenue received from all sources outside Canada”. If you are interested in who got what then read on.
21) “Foes of Northern Gateway pipeline fear revocation of charitable status” - Globe and Mail article
In a Globe and Mail article entitled “Foes of Northern Gateway pipeline fear revocation of charitable status” there is a discussion of recent issues raised about foreign funding on Canadian charities and political activities of Canadian charities.
22) CRA letters to Canadian Foundation for Tamil Refugee Rehabilitation before revocation
Here are copies of the letters from the Charities Directorate of the CRA to the Canadian Foundation for Tamil Refugee Rehabilitation.
23) CIDA announces funding for 53 Canadian partnerships in international development - $142 million
Minister of International Cooperation, Bev Oda, announced on December 23, 2011 the results of the Call for Proposals process of the Partnerships with Canadian branch. 53 organizations received about $142 million in total commitments.
24) CRA releases list of prescribed universities outside Canada in easy to find format
There are a few hundred foreign universities (ie. universities outside of Canada) that can issue Canadian official donation receipts and are therefore “qualified donees” similar to registered charities. The list of these universities was hidden on page 1550 of a regulation to the Income Tax Act. Now the list will be more easy to access on the Charities Directorate’s website.
25) Charity Focus from Imagine Canada - a helpful tool to analyze Canadian charities
Imagine Canada will be officially launching its Charity Focus website soon. You can review the website at http://www.charityfocus.ca/ Charity Focus presents the T3010 information in a more user friendly fashion than the current CRA website and it will also include other information uploaded by charities.
26) ‘Charity rankings often don’t tell the full story’ - by Katherine Van Kooy in the Calgary Herald
Here is a great piece by Katherine Van Kooy in the Calgary Herald entitled ‘Charity rankings often don’t tell the full story’. Katherine van Kooy is the president and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO).
27) CRA releases list of Canadian municipalities that are qualified donees + can issue donation receipts
Canadian municipalities can issue official donation receipts similar to registered charities. Sometimes it is not clear whether a group is considered to be a municipality. In the past you would have to call CRA or write to them to verify whether a township, town, county, etc. was a municipality. As a result of changes in the 2011 Federal Budget, CRA was allowed to release a list of municipalities. The list is prepared by province. Currently the municipalities are all listed as of 2012-01-01. If a municipality is involved with inappropriate conduct like issuing incorrect receipts they can be suspended or delisted. Municipalities need to be careful about how they issue receipts.
28) Article “Greater transparency needed in China’s charity sector”
Here is an interesting article on transparency in the Chinese charitable sector. “Charities will lose public credibility without transparency,” said one researcher. It is interesting to note that in one scandal involving the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC), the ” the scandal led to an 86.6-percent drop in donations to national charity organizations over the following six months”. It appears that the Chinese government is taking steps to bring in greater transparency.
29) Who and what are Registered National Arts Services Organization (RNASO) in Canada?
There are 24 Registered National Arts Services Organization (RNASO) in Canada and here is the list from the CRA Charities Listing database.
30) CRA publishes list of registered Canadian amateur athletic associations (RCAAAs)
The CRA has published a list of registered Canadian amateur athletic associations (RCAAAs). Very interesting to see the names of RCAAAs and also those that were deregistered over the last few years. There are currently about 119 RCAAAs. CRA was only allowed to publish this list after changes introduced in the 2011 Federal budget to increase transparency in the charity/qualified donee sector.
31) Consultation on Strengthening Canada’s Anti-Money Laundering and Anti Terrorist Financing Regime
On December 21, 2011 the Department of Finance announced a consultation on “updating Canada’s regime for combating money laundering and terrorist financing.” They also put out a consultation paper, “Strengthening Canada’s Anti-Money Laundering and Anti Terrorist Financing Regime,” which contains a number of proposals, a couple of which relate to charities. The deadline for submitting comments is March 1, 2012. The two proposals relating to charities are pretty minor - first for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to share information with CRA Charities Directorate on seizure reports when they seize forfeited currency. Second, the Financial Transactions Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (“Fintrac”) already provides disclosure to CRA but such disclosure may be more proactive. These recommendations will facilitate the Charities
Directorate having greater awareness of potential money laundering or terrorist activities that could potentially involve charities.
32) StatsCan stats on charity sector interesting - but notes even more interesting
StatsCan recently published some statistics on charitable donations. They noted “Canadian taxfilers reported making charitable donations of just under $8.3 billion in 2010, up 6.5% from 2009. At the same time, the number of donors increased 2.2% to just over 5.7 million. Data are based on income tax returns filed for 2010.” That is a bit of a good news story and shows that many Canadians who have jobs feel quite lucky and are generally digging into their pockets more. What is more interesting than the statistics are the caveats and notes.
On February 13 and 14, 2012 I will be chairing the upcoming CLIP Conference ‘Being Good at Doing Good’ http://www.clipconference.wildapricot.org
On February 9, 2012, I will be delivering a webinar on “Successfully funding First Nations communities in Canada in compliance with CRA guidance” with The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network and the Charity Law Information Program.
I will be lecturing and co-leading the Federated Press conference on “Tax-Effective Planning for Insurance & Investments Course” on February 28 & 29, 2012. I will be presenting on “Tax Effective Giving and the Use of Private Foundations” including factors to consider before establishing a private foundations and alternatives to private foundations and the process, requirements and costs of establishing a private foundation. The conference registration information is at: http://www.federatedpress.com/pdf/CEC/TEPT1202-E.pdf
In early April I will be co-presenting o the AFP International Conference in Vancouver on “Fundraising Compliance and Ethical Issues for Canadian Registered Charities”.
I delivered CLIP seminars in recently in London and Mississauga. For a full list of places CLIP did seminars see: http://ow.ly/6xnJu
I also did a number of workshops on charity compliance and recent legal developments for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario as well as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta.
Here are some recent links:
SMARTGIVING.CA - in time for the holiday season
List of Canadian Charities Revoked for Cause over the last five years
Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (CNCA) Suitcase
Draft receipting kit for Canadian charities that issue receipts along with CRA receipting policies
Budget 2011 and new “ineligible individual” category: How this can affect your charity
Blumbergs Charity Checklist
I hope that you found the above material helpful and please feel free to forward the e-mail newsletter to anyone you think may be interested. They can also sign up for the BLUMBERGS non-profit and charities law newsletter at http://www.canadiancharitylaw.ca/index.php/pages/subscribe/
For further information on legal resources for Canadian Non-Profits and Charities please visit www.canadiancharitylaw.ca or www.globalphilanthropy.ca
If you use Twitter you might want to follow me at: http://twitter.com/canadiancharity
If you want general information on registered charities in Canada you might find the archived webinars that were prepared for the Charity Law Information Program (CLIP) of Capacity Builders helpful http://www.globalphilanthropy.ca/index.php/blog/comments/webinars_on_canadian_charity_law_-_charity_law_information_program_clip_by_/
Mark Blumberg, B.A., LL.B., LL.M., TEP
Blumberg Segal LLP
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