Here is a copy of our Submission to the Federal Finance Committee dated August 1, 2018 for the 2019 Federal Budget. The submission covers transparency of non-profits and registered charities, as well as a number other recommendations to improve the regulation of registered charities.
Here is our Blumbergs’ Receipting Kit for Canadian registered charities 2018. If you wish to receive updates on the Receipting Kit you should join our Blumbergs email newsletter to receive regular updates on charity compliance issues affecting Canadian registered charities. There is no cost and you can unsubscribe at any time.
The Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector has started having meetings and inviting witnesses. We covered the details of the mandate at Senate appoints Special Committee on the Charitable Sector to look at laws and policies and impact Here are the dates of the recent meetings (with either a link to the transcript or video webcast).
I am still surprised at the number of Canadian fundraisers that I meet who have not read the CRA's Fundraising Guidance or have read it but don't remember any of the details! Here is the Fundraising Guidance on the CRA site and here is a PDF version of the CRA Fundraising Guidance as of May 2018. If your Canadian registered charity is fundraising then you should be aware of this guidance. CRA is auditing charities that are not complying with the requirements and in some cases revoking them. I have put up a number of letters from CRA on our website that CRA wrote to charities as part of the revocation process. These letters show the actual implementation of the fundraising guidance.
Here is the standard CRA response letter re Complaint About a Particular Canadian Registered Charity.
CRA has confirmed that the value of receipts issued by a few charities that were part of 'abusive charity gifting tax shelters' was over $7 Billion dollars and resulted in the reassessment by CRA of over 208,000 taxpayer returns. The height of the schemes was 48,000 participants in 2006 and that number has been reduced to less than 400 in 2014. We have written many times about these complicated schemes which promise for a certain cash donation you can obtain a much higher official donation receipt which will result in tax savings that are greater than your "investment".
Here is my recent webinar Top Charity Compliance Issues for Canadian Registered Charity with Mark Blumberg. It was wonderful to have over 3000 people registered for the webinar and thank you CharityVillage for hosting. You can see the presentation, the slide deck and a charity checklist.
Here is our article Common Paragraphs from CRA in the Notification of Registration Regarding Operating a Registered Charity. It provides many of the common warnings or suggestions from CRA that are included in Notifications of Registration from the Charities Directorate.
Here is our article CRA letter on Ineligible Individual and Impact on Charity Application which provides a copy of a standard letter when CRA determines that an ineligible individual may be involved with a charity application.
The case of Markou v. The Queen, 2018 TCC 66 (CanLII) in the Tax Court of Canada dealt with a leveraged donation program called “Donation Program for Medical Science and Technology”- what CRA used to refer to as an "abusive charity gifting donation scheme". The TCC determined that there was no donative intent and no gift.
Here is an article I recently wrote entitled Top Canadian Charity Law Issues for Charity Village. It highlights some of the top compliance issues that a Canadian charity should be concerned with.
There are over 2.5m pages on the Government of Canada's website and only a few thousand deal with registered charities. Here are some tips on finding information on registered charities. However, keep in mind that information and legal advice are two very different matters - if the issue is important and involves potentially large consequences consider obtaining professional legal advice from a lawyer who is very knowledgeable about non-profits and charities and consequently probably spends most of their time practicing in the narrow confines of charity and non-profit law.
Understanding legal compliance for registered charities is not easy but Blumbergs is offering exciting new upcoming events in 2018 that will help.
We are adding some exciting new functionality with CharityData.ca First, it is easy to see what gifts a Canadian registered charity gives to another Canadian registered charity on the CRA website. But what if you want to know which charities gave funds to a particular charity? Now you can do this on CharityData.ca by looking under the "Fundraising" tab. Second, we are going to be updating the data used on the site to include all 2016 data and some 2017 data. Third, we have added a number of new ways to search or sort all charities on the "Advanced Charity Search Page" Page. There are now about 30 ways to filter or search. Here is some more information on Charitydata.ca:
Barry Bussey published an op ed in The Province on the Canada Summer Jobs program and the reluctance of the CRA Minister to release it guidance on religion which has essentially been complete for a number of years.
The Tax Court of Canada in Isah, A. v. The Queen (TCC) deals with donations disallowed by CRA and the court ultimately decided to impose gross negligence penalties on the taxpayer who submitted fake official donation receipts.
The Department of Finance is reviewing Canada's anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regime. They have published a consultation paper at Reviewing Canada's Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Regime. They are looking for submissions on the discussion paper before April 30, 2018. I have met FATF in the past when they were evaluating Canada's effectiveness in dealing with AML and ATF and there are significant concerns - especially relating to the legal sector in Canada.
Over the last 10 or more years, we have published over 2500 blog posts. Except for a few avid readers, that might be a little overwhelming so we have started to create a directory of some of the top resources for Canadian charities. This will be particularly helpful for those who are new to registered charity compliance issues or to the charity sector.
Here is our note "Common Paragraphs for an Administrative Fairness Letter from the Charities Directorate of CRA". It contains explanations of common concerns that CRA may find during an audit that, unless appropriately addressed, may result in various penalties, sanctions or even revocation.
In a presentation to E&Y Gary Huenemoeder of the Charities Directorate provided certain updated audit statistics for 2016-2017 which shows the outcomes of the CRA's completed audits.
Do you require legal advice with respect to Canadian or Ontario non-profits or charities?
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.