Global Giving

September 15, 2017

CRA letter on transfers of property by a corporation to its sole shareholder

CRA recently released a letter that discusses whether a transfer of property by a corporation to its shareholder that is a private foundation is a gift for purposes of section 38(a.1) of the Income Tax Act (Canada) such that the taxable capital gain from the transfer would be zero.

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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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July 27, 2017

NYT coverage of Canadian donation to NS gallery and CPERB process

The New York Times recently had an article Canada Debates Whether Gift of Leibovitz Photos Is Also a Tax Dodge which discusses a donation of photographs taken by Annie Leibovitz.  There was also coverage in the CBC, another CBC and Toronto Star.   The story is fascinating as it involves celebrities, tax incentives, valuation, and cultural property all in one.    

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July 23, 2017

Coverage of recent revocations of two charities by the Canada Revenue Agency

Global News recently had coverage entitled "Government revokes group’s charity status, audit cites possible funding of Pakistani militants" which discusses two recent revocations of Canadian charities.

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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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June 16, 2017

Largest Gifts from Canadian Charities to Foreign Qualified Donees for 2015

There are over 294,000 records of Canadian charities gifting to qualified donees in total (both within and outside of Canada).  We reviewed the list and have compiled a list of gifts over $1.3 million to foreign qualified donees only for 2015.   Here is the "Largest Gifts from Canadian Charities to Foreign Qualified Donees for 2015".

June 14, 2017

Largest Gifts from Canadian Charities to other Qualified Donees for 2015

Here is a article "Largest Gifts from Canadian Charities to other Qualified Donees for 2015" with a list of all gifts over $1,000,000 from the 2015 T3010 Registered Charity Information Returns from one registered charity to another qualified donee.

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.  

April 23, 2017

Which Canadian registered charities spent the most on foreign activities in 2015?

April 22, 2017

CRA recently revokes registered charity status of 2 large religious groups doing foreign activities

On the CRA database it has become apparent that CRA has recently revoked the charitable status of two religious organizations that conduct significant foreign activities.  We have put in a request to CRA for information on why they were revoked. Unfortunately under the current rules even if CRA is aware of a problem with a charity it can only advise the public AFTER formal revocation has taken place.  So the details available at this point are very sparse.  

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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 02, 2017

Universities and Colleges fundraising in Canada - a great mechanism to fundraise effectively

Canada has a mechanism to recognize certain foreign universities for purposes of donations.  It is probably the most generous tax incentive system of any country in the world.   Essentially if you are a degree granting university outside of Canada and you have 2 Canadian students generally studying at your university/college then you can apply to get on a list maintained by the Canada Revenue Agency.   Once you are on the list you are considered to be a "qualified donee".  That means you can issue Canadian official donation receipts under the Income Tax Act  (Canada).  WIth such status a Canadian who donates to your prescibed foreign university obtains the same benefits - of between 40 - 70% as if they had donated to a Canadian university.

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March 30, 2017

Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Sector Snapshot 2015

We have just released our Blumbergs' Canadian Charity Sector Snapshot 2015. Lots of interesting statistics and information on the Canadian charity sector.  As well if you want information on individual charities or want to sort charities based on about 20 criteria checkout our charity data site at www.charitydata.ca

March 18, 2017

Australian charity commission to crack down on inappropriate political activities by charities

This recent article in The Guardian entitled Charity regulator to crack down on political advocacy after complaints discusses how the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has cracked down on certain political activities by charities in Australia and how the ACNC is asking for less secrecy and more transparency in dealing with charity compliance issues.

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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 11, 2017

IRFAN Canada makes application to Federal Court to remove terrorist designation

A number of Canadian charities have been revoked by CRA for supporting terrorism in addition to other concerns. One of those organizations was The International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (Canada) or IRFAN Canada. It lost its charitable status in 2011.  Subsequently in 2014 it was added to the list of terrorist organizations maintained under the Criminal Code.   Apparently a request had been made by IRFAN Canada to the Minister of Public Safety to de-list the applicant from the list of terrorist organizations. On December 22, 2016, the Minister of Public Safety denied the request.  Now IRFAN Canada has made an application to Federal Court for judicial review to set aside the denial.

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March 04, 2017

Charity Commission concerned that “poor due diligence and monitoring put charity assets at risk”

The Charity Commission of England and Wales recently released an Inquiry Report on a UK charity that identified concerns with fundraising and foreign activities.  There were a number of concerns raised but perhaps most interesting is the discussion around due diligence and internal controls, and specifically "receipts, invoices or other documentation to support the project expenditure".   

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February 26, 2017

CRA updates information sheet for prescribed university applications

CRA recently updated their guidance with respect to becoming a prescribed university outside of Canada. There are about 600 foreign prescribed universities and they can issue official donation receipts similar to a Canadian registered charity.  The updated CRA publication (RC 191) includes some revisions to the information that CRA requires for applications for prescribed university status (eligibility criteria however has not changed). The main change is that CRA only asks for 5 years information on Canadian students at the foreign university and not 10 years as they had previously requested.  

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February 10, 2017

Charity Commission case report on charity political activity AND funding non-charity

The Charity Commission has released a case report that deals with political activities of a UK charity and also its funding of a non-charity.  This case report is interesting from a Canadian perspective as there have been people in Canada advocating for changes to the rules relating to Canadian charities and political activities and also "direction and control" by Canadian charities when they are providing resources to non-qualified donees (such as foreign organizations).  This particular case report covers both of these types of issues.

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January 30, 2017

Terrorist attack at mosque in Quebec City claims 6 lives

On Sunday January 29, 2017 there was a terrible tragedy in Quebec City. A right-wing terrorist massacred six people praying at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec and injured almost 20 others.  This is the worst terrorist attack in Canada in over 25 years.

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January 22, 2017

The second best Canadian registered charity transparency tool has been improved

In August 2016 we launched a website to improve transparency on Canadian registered charities.  It is at www.charitydata.ca  We have just made a number of improvements to the website.

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January 16, 2017

Guidance for Professional Athletes considering Philanthropy in Canada

Kate Robertson and Mark Blumberg recently prepared an article, "Some thoughts on Professional Athletes and Philanthropy in Canada: Part 1" which provides helpful information and guidance for professional athletes and their trusted advisors who are exploring philanthropic options in Canada.  Part 2 of this article series will provide suggestions and tips for professional athletes on operating a successful Canadian registered charity.

December 28, 2016

Ignorance isn’t bliss for large registered charities anymore as CRA focuses audits on them

CRA uses a risk based approach to deciding which charities are to be audited. CRA a few months ago announced they are adjusting their audit strategy to focus more on larger Canadian registered charities. I guess someone in the past might had thought that smaller organizations, many without any staff, might be less legally compliant and they should be focused on. I guess someone now at the Charities Directorate has worked out that larger organizations have a large amount of resources, generally a lot more complexity and are more likely to be non-compliant with the requirements of the Income Tax Act and such non-compliance could affect much larger amounts of resources.

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December 27, 2016

What is a “development project” and how can this add further flexibility to foreign activities

CRA's Guidance CG-002, Canadian Registered Charities Carrying Out Activities Outside Canada discusses a "development project".  The guidance provides Canadian registered charities greater leeway in certain instances when conducting a "development project" to be able to hand over capital assets and immovable assets to a foreign non-qualified donee.  I have always thought that a development project would be carried out in what is referred to as the Global South/Third World/Developing Countries (the "South") and would be trying to reduce poverty, promote education, improve the environment, or improve access to health care to provide some examples.

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December 27, 2016

Charity Commission report into a former charity named REDAID -lots of lessons for Canadian charities

The Charity Commission of England and Wales recently published an Inquiry Report into a former charity named REDAID.  It is well worth reading.  In Canada, directors of registered charities sometimes focus too much on the Income Tax Act requirements of a charity and ignore or are unaware of their fiduciary obligations.  Directors of registered charities have fiduciary duties that in some cases can be at a much higher standard than that which is provided under the Income Tax Act.  

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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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