Avoiding 'Charity' Scams

April 19, 2018

Markou v. The Queen, 2018 TCC 66 (CanLII)

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.

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April 11, 2018

Top Canadian Charity Law Issues by Mark Blumberg - For Charity Village - March 2018

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.   

April 08, 2018

Searching the CRA’s new website at Canada.ca made easy

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.  

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March 27, 2018

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.   

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March 24, 2018

Exciting functionality being added to CharityData.ca

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:

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March 07, 2018

Barry Bussey “Trudeau Liberals clearly don’t understand religious charities and their rights”

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. 

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February 14, 2018

Isah, A. v. The Queen (TCC) - TCC imposes gross negligence penalties for

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. 

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February 14, 2018

Consultation “Reviewing Canada’s Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Regime”

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.   

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February 01, 2018

CRA’s List of Areas of Non-Compliance with ITA Provisions for Canadian Private Foundations

February 01, 2018

CRA’s List of Areas of Non-Compliance with ITA Provisions for Canadian Charitable Organizations

January 27, 2018

Our directory of top resources for Canadian registered charities

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.

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January 25, 2018

With foreign activities what is the difference between a conduit and a structured arrangement?

Here is an updated article on the difference between a conduit and a structured arrangement - it is entitled Canadian Charities and Foreign Activities: Conduit versus Structured Arrangement.

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January 22, 2018

Common Paragraphs for an Administrative Fairness Letter from the Charities Directorate of CRA

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.

January 17, 2018

CRA Charities Directorate Audit Statistics

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.

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January 09, 2018

Top 68 CRA Reasons for Denying your Canadian Registered Charity Application

In this article "Top 68 CRA Reasons for Denying your Canadian Registered Charity Application" we have obtained from CRA a list of some of the most common and not so common reasons for CRA to be concerned with a charity application.   

December 20, 2017

Top Canadian charity law compliance issues By Mark Blumberg

Here is an article on Top Canadian charity law compliance issues by Mark Blumberg.  Hopefully it provides a good overview of the most common compliance issues for Canadian registered charities with an emphasis on concerns from the Charities Directorate of CRA.

December 16, 2017

Canadian Charity Foreign Activity Legal Checklist - Working with Foreign Charities or Intermediaries

Here is a new checklist from Blumbergs that will assist Canadian registered charities either interested or currently conducting foreign activities.  It is called Canadian Charity Foreign Activity Legal Checklist - Working with Foreign Charities or Intermediaries 2017.

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November 30, 2017

US changes to tax code could mean big problems for US charities

The US House and Senate are looking at major changes to the tax code that could have a significant impact on US donors and whether they receive any tax incentives for their donations.  Now, 1 in 3 US donors may get a tax incentive when they donate to charity; with the proposed changes, only 1 in 20 US donors will receive a tax incentive for their donations.  A number of US charity umbrella groups have been lobbying hard to prevent certain changes.  We will know shortly whether the charity sector will be blindsided or if last minute amendments will occur.  There are lots of lessons here for Canada.

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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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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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