Blog

November 21, 2008

Complaints about Registered Canadian Charities

Charities do a lot of great work.  But with over 85,000 of them, and a few hundred bad apples amongst the lot, there will be times that you will be disappointed in a charity.  When you have a concern about a charity or a charity does something wrong here are some ideas about how you can complain.

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November 05, 2008

Global Philanthropy: Canadian Charities and Foreign Activities -Estate Planning Council of Toronto

Here is a copy of my presentation Global Philanthropy: Canadians and Canadian Charities and Foreign Activities that I delivered to the Estate Planning Council of Toronto.

November 04, 2008

CRA Revokes Choson Kallah Fund of Toronto as tax shelter donation arrangement

The problem of abusive charitable tax shelters using the developing world as a marketing tool continues.  It just goes to show the importance of dealing with credible and legitimate charities if you want to make the world a better place.

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November 01, 2008

New CRA Application for Registered Charity Status (T2050) and Guide (T4063) in December 2008

November 01, 2008

CRA Reminds Canadian charities of 2009 disbursement quota changes

The CRA has reminded charitable organizations (not foundations) that these charitable organizations will beginning in 2009 have to in addition to other disbursement quota requirements need to spend 3.5% of the value of all of their property the charity has that is not used directly in charitable activities or administration.

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October 25, 2008

Good Works by Canadians Outside the Registered Charity Realm

October 25, 2008

What is the Charitable Goods Policy of CRA and What is its Impact?

This brief article discusses the Charitable Goods Policy of the Canada Revenue Agency.

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October 25, 2008

Are there limits on how much foreign activities a Canadian charity can conduct?

October 25, 2008

FAQ - Are there Residency Requirements for the Directors of a Canadian Charity?

This FAQ looks at whether there are residency requirements for Canadian charities.

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September 26, 2008

Charity questions for our political parties in this 2008 Canadian election

Although charities are greater than 10% of our economy in a federal election the charitable sector gets between 0 and 0.01 of the attention.  We spend a lot of time talking about sweaters.  In this blog I ask a few rhetorical questions (as no one is actually going to respond!) about some public policy issues involving charities.

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September 19, 2008

Blumbergs Canadian Charity Law List - September 2008 - Fundraising, Lobbying, Political Activities

In the September Newsletter we discuss the CRA Fundraising Consultation, provide my article on Canadian Charities and Foreign Activities which appeared in The Philanthropist, review rules for lobbying and political activities by Canadian charities, and provide a link to the CRA Report on Small and Rural Charities in Canada.

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Topics: News

September 15, 2008

How Much Should A Canadian Charity Spend on Overhead such as Fundraising and Administration?

Here is my updated article on “How Much Should A Canadian Charity Spend on Overhead

This note discusses why low overhead may not be a good thing for a charity and what is appropriate.

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September 07, 2008

Canadian Federal Election - Canadian charities must avoid partisan political activity

Canadian registered charities need to scrupulously avoid involvement with partisan political activity.  In this brief note we cover CRA policy statement CPS-022 on political activity by charities and CRA’s Advisory on Partisan Political Activities. It is really important for Canadian charities to understand the policy statement and advisory for two reasons: 1) failure to do so can result in a charity losing its charitable status; and 2) many charities can in fact do more allowable political activities than they currently do but they misunderstand CRA’s views on this important topic and they think that CRA disapproves of all “political” activity, which is clearly not the case. Full Article in PDF

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September 06, 2008

Fundraising and Grantmaking from Canada - Legal Issues

Here is a copy of a powerpoint presentation Blumbergs recently delivered to a US 501(c)(3) on Fundraising and Grantmaking from Canada

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September 02, 2008

United States Examining Tax Breaks for Charities, Will Canada follow?

The bad economic times, the war in Iraq and increasingly worsening socio-economic situation in the US is having some Democrats and Republicans wonder whether the structure and tax incentives for the charitable sector is working.  Will Canada follow the lead and ask tough questions?

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Topics: News

July 02, 2008

Redeemer Foundation v. M.N.R. (F.C.A.)- Federal Court agrees with CRA on audit powers with charities

This case dealt with whether the Charities Directorate of CRA requires judicial authorization to request certain information from a registered charity and CRA won the appeal.  The CRA note headnote/summary is below.

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June 19, 2008

2008 Global Philanthropy Forum Videos Available online

The Global Philanthropy Forum is presented by the World Affairs Council of Northern California.  The 2008 title was “Human Security, Human Rights and the Shared Responsibility to Protect:
A conversation between elders and emerging leaders”.  They had some excellent speakers but best of all you can see most of this gathering on their website at:

http://www.philanthropyforum.org/forum/2008_Videos.asp?SnID=40854527

Topics: News

June 18, 2008

Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (NFPC) - New Act if passed will affect Canadian charities

It looks like Industry Canada will be making a second attempt to pass a new federal non-profits act to replace the Canada Corporations Act.  It will be called the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (NFPC).

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June 01, 2008

Your Guide to Charitable Giving and Estate Planning by CAGP Greater Toronto Roundtable 2008

Here is Your Guide to Charitable Giving and Estate Planning produced by the CAGP Greater Toronto Roundtable 2008.  It was inserted in the Globe and Mail.  I have a couple of articles in this edition. 

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Topics: News

May 29, 2008

Applicants for Charitable Status in Canada with foreign activities need to provide detailed info

The Canada Revenue Agency has recently been sending out a new form letter to some applicants for charitable registration which appear to have foreign activities requesting they provide greater detail in terms of the foreign activities.  Here is a copy of a sample letter from CRA.  The letter is worth reading and I would emphasize the importance of providing sufficient detail of the proposed foreign activity as well as a draft agreement for any structured arrangements.

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May 28, 2008

Blumbergs Canadian Charity Law List - May 2008 - Burma, Flow-Through Share donations, volunteers,etc

Here is a copy of the Blumbergs Canadian Charity Law List - May 2008 with articles on subjects such as the Burma Cyclone and Sanctions, Flow-Through Share donations schemes, risk management and volunteers, planned giving in a global world, the Banyan Tree Foundation etc

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Topics: News

May 25, 2008

How Much does Canada and the Richest Countries Help Africa?

A recent report entitled “The Commitment to Development Index for Africa: How Much do the Richest Countries Help the Poorest Continent? is well worth reading.  As we know Canada has a good reputation in terms of helping developing countries.  The numbers in this report show in fact that Canada is below average amongst the 21 wealthiest nations in helping reduce poverty in Africa.  If mediocrity is your goal - Canada is succeeding.  This report discusses not only foreign aid but also trade, investment, and migration policies, as well as other factors such as commitments to the environment, to security, and to technology.

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Topics: News

May 25, 2008

CCIC 2008 AGM in Ottawa and Official Development Assistance Accountability Act (better aid bill)

I am just back from the 2008 AGM of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation.  It was awe inspiring to see some of the wonderful work being done by Canadian charities in the international development realm.  Not only was this a celebration of CCIC’s 40th anniversary but it was also a celebration of a very important legislative victory in the realm of international development. 

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Topics: News

May 14, 2008

Bequests in Wills In Canada - Avoiding Legal and Ethical Problems When Supporting Good Causes

April 14, 2008

Banyan Tree Foundation, law firm Fraser Milner Casgrain sued for $55m in class action lawsuit

The law firm of Scarfone Hawkins LLP in Hamilton has recently brought a class action lawsuit against a number of parties for their involvement with the Banyan Tree Foundation including the law firm of Fraser Milner Casgrain.  It will be interesting to see how this case turns out.  I predict that there will be other cases against other law firms that have been involved with preparing opinion letters for transactions that CRA considers to be “shams”.  The allegations in the statement of claim have yet to be proved in court.

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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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