Avoiding 'Charity' Scams

November 17, 2017

Upcoming Blumbergs’ Events for 2018 - Bootcamp, T3010 and Receipting

Understanding legal compliance for registered charities is not easy but Blumbergs is offering 3 exciting new upcoming events in 2018 that will help.   We will have our Canadian Charity Law Bootcamp in April which provides a full day overview of charity law regulation.  Then in June we will have a half-day Fundamentals of the T3010 and Transparency for Canadian charities.  In September we will have the half-day Fundamentals of Receipting by Canadian charities.  Inaccurately completing the T3010 and improperly issuing receipts are the two most common compliance concerns for registered charities and these educational programs are designed to help charity directors, staff, and volunteers to tackle these challenges.  You can find out more information below.  Space is limited and these programs are not offered regularly - so if you think they could be of assistance to your charity then sign up now.   Learning about compliance requirements for charities through educational programs can save your charity lots of money on legal fees and avoid tremendous anxiety.   

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November 14, 2017

Class action lawsuit for $800 million over Global Learning Group Inc. (GLGI) donation program

Apparently a class action lawsuit has been launched relating to the GLGI scheme.  In a press release the lawyers for the plaintiffs note "the commencement of a proposed $800 million class action lawsuit against Global Learning Group Inc. (GLGI), and other individuals and entities involved in the development, structuring, creation, promotion and operation of the Global Learning Gifting Initiative Charitable Donation Program (the Gift Program), a complex leveraged charitable donation tax scheme that operated from 2004 to 2014."

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November 10, 2017

CRA Launches Charities Education Program

The CRA has recently announced the launch of a new program called the Charities Education Program.  The program is going to have CRA auditors visit charities but not in the normal audit capacity.   The CRA anticipates that about 500 of these visits will take place per year.  We will see how the program works out but there are going to be some reservations about this new initiative.   If this is an educational program are CRA auditors the best people to do the program? Will charities be confused by this program and the difference between this program and the regular audit program?  Could the resources being used for this program rather be used for responding to written correspondence and charity applications sooner, because they are both taking about a year right now?  Time will tell how the program works out.    

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October 28, 2017

Charity Commission releases guidance on “grant funding an organisation that isn’t a charity”

The Charity Commission of England and Wales has released a guidance Grant funding an organisation that isn’t a charity. It sets certain standards when an English charity provides a grant to a group that is not a charity such as a non-profit or social enterprise, businesses or foreign groups that is not "or may not be" a charity.  In Canada when a Canadian registered charity gives funds to a "qualified donee" it is typically relatively straightforward and simple, however, when a Canadian charity transfer funds or resources to a non-qualified donee such as a foreign charity then these sort of rules apply.  In Canada it is called having a "structured arrangement" with direction and control. I will discuss the Canadian rules at the end.

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October 25, 2017

Third-party civil penalty disclosure from CRA - 164m in penalties from 2009 - 2016

CRA has provided information through ATIP on third-party civil penalties from 2009 to 2016.  The number of completed third-party penalty audits where it was determined that the penalty would be applied is 67.  The amount of the penalties was about $164 million.  Here is the disclosure.

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September 30, 2017

Blumbergs’ Receipting Kit 2017 by Mark Blumberg

We have just released our updated Blumbergs' Receipting Kit 2017. The Blumbergs' Receipting Kit 2017 is for Canadian registered charities and other qualified donees who wish to issue official donation receipts under the Income Tax Act (Canada), which are sometimes referred to as "tax receipts".  It has a general description of how receipting should be conducted and then copies of documents and resources from the CRA and elsewhere that relate to receipting.

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September 28, 2017

Upcoming CPA Ontario charity programs with Mark Blumberg

Mark Blumberg will be delivering two upcoming Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario (CPA Ontario) charity programs:  Charity Fundraising and Receipting Rules - A Primer for Accountants and T3010 and Transparency in the Charitable Sector.  

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September 28, 2017

CRA reminds those applying for charity status about privacy and collection of information on them

CRA has just published a lengthy page on Personal information of directors, trustees and like officials that discusses how the Charities Directorate uses personal information provided in a charity application and in your registered charity's annual filings.

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September 15, 2017

CRA increasingly focused on and auditing internal controls of registered charities

Although the CRA has little guidance on internal controls, they are increasingly focusing on internal controls, or the lack thereof, in charities.  Internal controls are "a procedure or policy put in place by management to safeguard assets, promote accountability, increase efficiency, and stop fraudulent behavior."  A simple example is having two people sign cheques or having two people count cash.  I am hoping that one day CRA will provide greater guidance on their expectations surrounding internal controls but for now here are some thoughts and suggestions.  

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August 30, 2017

Australian national risk assessment into the NP sector discusses terrorist financing and AML

An interesting new report from The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) as well as the Australian Transactions Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) published on August 28, 2017 looked at "the risk of money laundering and terrorism financing in the not-for-profit sector, key vulnerabilities and risk indicators of high-risk organisations, groups of high-risk organisations that will benefit from targeted outreach and support, vulnerabilities that could be exploited to support terrorism, and a strategy to counter these vulnerabilities".

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August 29, 2017

Ontario Government Proposal to Allow Compensation of Directors of Charities Without Court Order

Here is Blumbergs' comments on the Ontario Government Proposal to Allow Compensation of Directors of Charities Without Court Order that were submitted to the Ministry of the Attorney General today. 

June 18, 2017

Charities, Regulation and Donors - some international perspectives from the CCLA

The Canadian Charity Law Association (CCLA) is pleased to present: Charities, Regulation and Donors - some international perspectives on June 22, 2017 at 8:30AM in Toronto.  The 1/2 day program will cover 4 thought provoking topics (see bios below) and have two excellent international guests.  The room can only hold 33 people so if you are interested book quickly.

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May 28, 2017

Ploughman v. The Queen, 2017 TCC 64

The recent decision of Ploughman v. The Queen, 2017 TCC 64 deals with a "third-party civil penalty" against Mr. Ploughman for his involvement in what CRA refers to as "abusive charity gifting tax shelter" but this decision refers to as a "donation program".  The court dealt with an appeal of the assessment of the third-party civil penalty and rejected Mr. Ploughman's appeal.

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May 27, 2017

Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law Institute 2017 - save the date!

We are pleased to announce the Blumbergs' Canadian Charity Law Institute 2017 will be on Monday October 16, 2017. Further details will follow.  Registration and early bird information is here.  

May 19, 2017

Charitable Receipting: Do’s and don’ts for Canadian registered charities with CharityVillage

On May 25, 2017, I will be doing a free webinar for CharityVillage on Charitable Receipting Do's and Don'ts which will discuss receipting by Canadian registered charities.

April 11, 2017

Carleton MPNL PhilanthroTHINK: The Future of Charity Regulation on April 28, 2017 in Ottawa

Carleton University has a Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership (MPNL).  They do some very interesting programs relating to the non-profit and charity sector.  On April 28, 2017 they will be holding a one day program entitled The Future of Charity Regulation: Lessons from International Experience.  You can find out more information here.

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April 07, 2017

Wallace Global Fund charity fires lawyers for being inconsistent with their values

Here is an interesting article from the NPQ entitled "Wallace Global Fund Fires Law Firm for Aiding Trump’s “Ethical Carnage”. It discusses how a large US charity has decided to sever a long term relationship with a major US law firm because they represent Donald Trump and blessed the highly questionable trust arrangement that Donald Trump is using to ostensibly avoid conflicts of interest while he is President of the US.

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March 22, 2017

2017 Canadian Federal Budget and its impact on non-profits and charities

The 2017 Canadian Federal Budget was released today.  Here is our article 2017 Canadian Federal Budget - How will it affect the Canadian charitable sector? 

March 19, 2017

“Charity finances: trustee essentials” - great information on financial management of a charity

The Charity Commission has recently updated  their guidance "Charity finances: trustee essentials".  It provides helpful information on finances that Canadian directors and trustees, as well as staff, should be aware of.  Keep in mind that on certain points the law in Canada is different than in England and Wales.  Unfortunately the CRA provides far less guidance on financial management and governance to the charity sector than I would like.  

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March 16, 2017

FTC & NASCO Conference on Consumer Protection Issues and Charitable Solicitations - online/free

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and National Association of State Charities Officials (NASCO) are organizing a conference called "Give & Take: Consumers, Contributions, and Charity" on Tuesday March 21, 2017.   It will be in Washington but it will be live streamed for free for those who are interested.  The live link will be available on the day of the conference.  

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March 07, 2017

Government of Canada to combine all Federal government websites into Canada.ca

The consolidation of all Government of Canada websites into one domain at www.canada.ca has started.  In theory this is an opportunity to have a more streamlined, secure government website.  I have two concerns about how this will affect charities. 

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February 24, 2017

CRA has updated the T2050 form - Application to Register a Charity

The Canada Revenue Agency ('CRA') recently updated the T2050 form used by organizations when applying for charitable status with the Charities Directorate of the CRA. 

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December 21, 2016

Did charitable giving in Canada really hit a 10-year low?

I recently read a press release from a Canadian think tank that said “Charitable giving in Canada hits 10-year low”. They proposed “In total, Canadians claimed $9 billion in charitable donations in 2014. But had Canadians donated in 2014 at the same rate as in 2006, Canada's charities would have received an additional $3.6 billion, for a potential total of $12.6 billion."  They also noted that Americans gave 1.42 per cent of their income to charity in 2014 -- more than two-and-a-half times what Canadians gave.” I guess their main points were that Canadians are becoming less generous and Canadians are not as generous as Americans.  I have issues with the arguments and the methodology.

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November 03, 2016

CRA releases new educational video series on ‘Gifting and Receipting’

CRA recently released its first video as part of a new educational video series on 'Gifting and Receipting'.  This series is meant to educate the public, donors, and those involved in the charitable sector on the type of donations that are tax-receiptable and the different CRA rules regarding receipting.  

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September 20, 2016

Some simple and free steps to increase your Canadian registered charity’s transparency

The work that charities do is extremely important to our society, so it is vital that various stakeholders, such as the public, the media, the government, donors, employees, boards, donors and others. have access to key information on what the charity is doing and how it is doing it. In general transparency will ultimately increase public trust and confidence in the sector by making the public more informed about the work of charities and making it more difficult for people to misuse charities. However, from a legal perspective registered charities have few requirements in terms of transparency.  Registered charities must file a T3010 Registered Charity Information Return with a financial statement and various schedules with the CRA every year.

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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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