Blog

March 12, 2012

Marcel Lauzière of Imagine Canada piece on “Role of charities”

Marcel Lauzière of Imagine Canada has written a good piece entitled “Role of Charities” in which he nicely summarizes why charities have, and should have, involvement in the political process.  Remember that charities cannot be involved in partisan political activity, but they can spend some of their resources on dealing with political issues that are related to their legal objects.

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March 11, 2012

March is Fraud Prevention Month - donors and charities need to be careful

Various organizations are reminding Canadians to beware of fraud and charities.  Capital One and CanadaHelps have a quiz “to educate Canadians on how to identify false charities so their generous donations don’t end up in fraudsters’ hands.”  CRA advises “Fraud Prevention Month also offers an opportunity for the Agency to remind Canadians that some individuals are selling tax scams that have serious legal consequences. Canadians are urged to remember the old adage: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

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March 08, 2012

Various CRA Letters on Article XXI of the Canada-US Tax Treaty

Here are some letters from the Canada Revenue Agency dealing with Article XXI (7) (formerly XXI(6)) of the Canada-US Tax Treaty.

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March 08, 2012

Blumbergs Submission to Finance on AML and Anti-Terrorism Provisions affecting Canadian charities

March 06, 2012

Letters from CRA about revocation of charity World Assembly of Muslim Youth for supporting terrorism

Here is a copy of the Letters from CRA about revocation of charity World Assembly of Muslim Youth for supporting terrorism.  We noted at globalphilanthropy.ca (TM) on February 23 the revocation at http://bit.ly/xNGt4M

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March 02, 2012

Charity Commission publishes report on charity loan to football club and conflicts of interest

The Charity Commission of England and Wales published a report on a charity loan to a football club.  “The Commission’s investigation concluded that the charity trustees had not met their legal duties and responsibilities as trustees, including the need to safeguard the charity’s funds and apply them for the proper purposes of the charity.  It also concluded that the trustees, all of whom had links to or interests in Plymouth Argyle FC, had not properly managed their conflicts of interest. In these particular circumstances, the Commission concluded that the trustees had placed the interests of the charity secondary to those of the football club. The Commission is critical of the trustees for allowing the situation to arise, but found they have since done everything expected of them to rectify it.”  Many of the same principles would apply in the Canadian context.

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Topics: News

March 02, 2012

CharityFocus.ca adds Director search feature

[Update - if you are interested in T3010 information on Canadian registered charities check out www.charitydata.ca]

CharityFocus.ca is a new tool created by Imagine Canada to allow searches of Canadian registered charities.  You can now also search by directors.

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March 02, 2012

CRA to provide 3 new webinars - T3010, New Board Member orientation and fundraising guidance

The Charities Directorate of CRA has announced that registration for three new webinars is open.  These are free webinars offered by the the Charities Directorate to registered charities or others interested in compliance issues.

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March 01, 2012

Canadian charity stops funding Israeli charity after investigation

The Jerusalem Post has written articles on an Israeli soup kitchen that received a large amount of funds from Canada and other countries around the world.  The Canadian charity was concerned that their agent in Israel was not providing adequate information on the operations and the Canadian charity investigated the matter and subsequently stopped funding the Israeli charity.  This story even has a little intrigue as ex-Mossad agents were apparently hired to do some of the investigating.  I checked the CRA Guidance on foreign activities (http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/plcy/cgd/tsd-cnd-eng.html) and there does not appear to be any requirement to use ex-Mossad agents - although I guess I cannot hurt!  This story is also a little unusual in that the Canadian charity is discovering a problem abroad AND they are telling the public about it.  Usually these matters are hidden under the carpet.  The Israeli charity denies any wrongdoing.

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March 01, 2012

Article in Canadian Fundraiser ““Behaviour modification” the goal in suit against law firm”

At the Hillborn website charityinfo.ca there is an interesting article entitled ““Behaviour modification” the goal in suit against law firm” which discusses a recent class action lawsuit by Scarfone Hawkins related to the Banyan Tree Foundation abusive charity gifting tax scheme.

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February 24, 2012

Upcoming webinars on receipting by registered charities from CLIP

Here are three free webinars from the Charity Law Information Program dealing with receipting by registered charities and gifts in kind on March 6, 2012.

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February 23, 2012

CRA revokes charity “World Assembly of Muslim Youth” for providing funds to a listed terrorist org.

The Charities Directorate of CRA has revoked the registered charity status of the group “World Assembly of Muslim Youth”  CRA notes: “Summary of Reasons for Revocation - WORLD ASSEMBLY OF MUSLIM YOUTH   On the basis of our audit and of our review of the Organization’s Registered Charity Information Returns for the years from 2005 to 2009, we have concluded that the Organization: failed to comply with or contravened subsection 230(2) of the Act; ceased to comply with the requirements of the Act for its continued registration; and failed to file an information return as required under the Act. Our analysis of the Organization’s operations has led the CRA to believe that the Organization, which has been inactive since at least 2005, was established to support the goals and operations of its parent organization located in Saudi Arabia. Our analysis particularly noted that the Organization shared a common director, contact information, and a bank account with the Benevolence International Fund in Canada (BIF-Canada), and provided $50,246 to the Benevolence International Foundation in the United States (BIF-USA) in 2001. On November 21, 2002, BIF-Canada and BIF-USA were added to the Consolidated List of the United Nations Security Council’s Al-Qaida and Taliban and Sanctions Committee.”

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February 21, 2012

ORNGE - A lesson for charities in the dangers of too little transparency

ORNGE, for those outside of Ontario, is a Canadian registered charity that runs the air ambulance service in Ontario.  Their helicopters are painted orange.  It is a charity but largely funded by the Ontario government.  ORNGE has been receiving a large amount of media scrutiny over the last few months.

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February 21, 2012

United Holy Land Fund - “trust and faith of proper usage of funds” is not “direction and control”

The CRA recently revoked the registered charity status of the United Holy Land Fund.  CRA alleges that the United Holy Land Fund did not have “direction and control” over the use of its resources, failed to maintain adequate books and records and made gifts to non-qualified donees.  The amounts involved appear to be quite small - about $16,000.

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February 21, 2012

L’Ecole Notre Dame Du Nord Inc.- if you don’t exist you cannot be a Canadian registered charity!

L’Ecole Notre Dame Du Nord Inc. was registered charity that was revoked by CRA.  I thought it worth mentioning because the reason for dissolution provided by CRA seems quite mundane but important for charities to pay attention to.  In May 2011 CRA noticed that the corporate entity L’Ecole Notre Dame Du Nord Inc had become dissolved.  CRA advised “Upon termination of its corporate status L’Ecole Notre Dame Du Nord Inc. ceased to exist as an entity at law and as such no longer qualifies for registration as a charity under the Income Tax Act, subsection 248(1).”  They were then given 90 days to show “proof that it exists as a corporate entity. Failure to comply will result in the CRA revoking the charity’s registration by publishing the follow notice in the Canada Gazette ...”

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February 17, 2012

Article “Ornge to be restructured amid OPP probe”

Here is an article on the Ontario air ambulance service Ornge which discusses the involvement of legal and accounting firms in the structuring of the transaction.

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February 16, 2012

Corporations Canada - Client Outreach Session on CNCA - Toronto, March 8, 2012

Corporations Canada will be having a Client Outreach Session in Toronto, March 8, 2012.  Here is further information.

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February 10, 2012

The Canada Revenue Agency revokes the registration of Escarpment Biosphere Foundation Inc.

The Canada Revenue Agency has revoked the registration of Escarpment Biosphere Foundation Inc. as a charity for participating in the Canadian Humanitarian Trust tax shelter gifting arrangement (Donation Program).  The CRA notes “Our audit revealed that the Escarpment Biosphere Foundation Inc. (the Organization) received cash and pharmaceuticals with a purported value of over $407 million as a result of its participating in the Canadian Humanitarian Trust tax shelter gifting arrangement (Donation Program). It is our position the Organization failed to verify the value of the properties and to maintain direction and control over the distribution of the properties. Further, we believe the Organization agreed, for a fee of approximately $1 million, to lend legitimacy to the Donation Program by representing that it had received and distributed the properties in its own charitable programs. As such, it is our position the Organization failed to operate exclusively for charitable purposes by acting as a conduit for the Donation Program and redistributing 99% of the cash received to other parties in the Donation Program.”

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February 07, 2012

Being Good at Doing Good 2012 in Toronto - Feb 13 and 14 - you don’t want to miss this conference

There will be another Being Good at Doing Good conference on February 13 and 14, 2012 organized by the Charity Law Information Program - you don’t want to miss this conference.  We will have some of the top experts from Canada, the US and the UK on governance, financial management and compliance.  Here is the registration page: http://www.clipconference.wildapricot.org/  The conference is “Doing Good” at registrations with over 205 people signed up so far.  Here is the Preliminary Conference Schedule

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February 07, 2012

Canadian Lawyer Magazine “$144-million charitable tax scheme class action certified”

Here is another short article on the Cannon v. Funds for Canada Foundation class action lawsuit.

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February 05, 2012

Toronto Star article “ORNGE paid lawyers $11 million”

The Toronto Star has been doing a number of articles on a Canadian registered charity named “ORNGE” which provides air ambulance services in Ontario.  In this article Kevin Donovan, investigative reporter for the Toronto Star, is discussing amounts of legal fees paid by ORNGE and the services provided.

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February 05, 2012

Largest Gifts from Canadian Charities to other Qualified Donees - 2010

Here is a list of the Largest Gifts from Canadian Charities to other Qualified Donees - 2010.  You might find this interesting.

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February 03, 2012

CRA’s New Fundraising Guidance 2012

CRA will be shortly releasing their much anticipated revised Guidance on Fundraising.  Join charity lawyer Mark Blumberg as he presents a webinar on behalf of the Charity Law Information Program entitled “CRA’s New Fundraising Guidance” on Friday, February 10, 2012 at 1PM EST for approximately 1 hour.

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January 31, 2012

Blumbergs submission on the importance of transparency to the charity and non-profit sector

Here is a copy of my submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance on Motion 559 dealing with transparency.

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January 30, 2012

Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law List - January 2012

Here is the Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law List - January 2012

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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.

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