The OECD Report on Abuse of Charities for Money Laundering and Tax Evasion is well worth reading for anyone who cares about the Canadian charitable sector. On my quick read of the report it seems that Canada has probably more charity tax evasion than any other country. The complete report is at: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/30/20/42232037.pdf I will be writing an article on the ethics of professional advisors, especially charity lawyers, being involved with advising and defending charity tax evasion schemes.
The Millennium Charitable Foundation Case deals with abusive charitable gifting schemes. The Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) sided with CRA in this matter. It is well worth reading for anyone concerned with the charity sector.
There are many legal and ethical issues with the donation of pharmaceuticals to developing countries. In this note I will touch upon some of the ethical issues.
This CRA Charities Directorate Update presented in November 2009 provides some interesting information and statistics on compliance issues for the sector.
CRA has launched a new initiative called “Project Trident” in which they are targeting the “Triple Threat Tax Fraud” namely “identity theft, charities?related fraud, and tax preparer fraud.”
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.
This note discusses why low overhead may not be a good thing for a charity and what is appropriate.
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.
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.
I often read commentators talking about the ‘increased burden’ placed by Canada Revenue Agency on Canadian charities operating abroad or the ‘increasingly complicated’ administrative rules. I then scratch my head and wonder what increased burden and what increased rules? The CRA has not modified RC4106 since 2000 (almost 8 years) and since the publication of that document the CRA has in fact provided greater leeway to registered Canadian charities in operating abroad for example charities that are umbrella organizations. The CRA has also provided clarifications in newsletters on various issues that they have been asked about. The CRA has also made far greater efforts to educate charities about compliance issues for Canadian charities operating abroad including through a recent educational partnership with certain charities.
Here is a presentation by Blaine Langdon, Senior Policy Officer, of the Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency entitled
Regulation of Charitable Giving in Canada –An Update
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.