Here is our updated article on Foreign Universities Applying for Prescribed University Status in Canada 2018. If your university or alma mater is outside of Canada then this article can be vital in terms of understanding how to more easily and tax effectively fundraise from Canada.
Here is our article on How Much Should a Canadian Registered Charity Spend on Administration?
The CRA announced today that they are delaying the Charities IT Modernization Project (CHAMP) till June 2019. When CHAMP is launched, charities will no longer be able to make application by paper application and will have to use the CHAMP system. As well, although not required, charities will be able to file the T3010 under the CHAMP system. Because all charity applications will need to go through CHAMP, it is ideal that it works seamlessly and if that means a delay of 6 or 7 months, I don't think many people will care.
Finance has put out a press release that it will be consulting on the new political activity proposals that were released on Friday.
I am looking forward to presenting to the CAGP Advanced Canadian Gift Planning Symposium on international philanthropy in Ottawa on October 17, 2018. Robert Kleinman, Executive Vice-President of The Jewish Community Foundation of Montreal, and myself will present on "Charity Performed Abroad - practical tips and minefields".
On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 5:01PM the Department of Finance released the "Legislative Proposals Notice of Ways and Means Motions" and also the "Explanatory Notes" on their website. We will be commenting on these changes to the Income Tax Act over the next few weeks.
The CRA announced today that they will be changing the mailing address for the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return effective October 8, 2018 but for other correspondence, there is no change of address.
Revenu Quebec has provided an English translation of the Non-Profit Corporations Guide to Filing the Information and Income Tax Return 2017. This guide will help you complete the CO-17.SP, Déclaration de revenus et de renseignements des sociétés sans but lucratif.
Canadian Charities do a lot of great work. But with over 86,000 of them, and a few hundred really bad apples amongst the lot, and probably thousands of ineffectual charities, there will be times that you will be disappointed in a charity. When you have a concern about a charity, or a charity does something wrong, here are some ideas.
Recently author and fundraiser Gail Picco wrote an extensive article on the CWP decision entitled "How an Ontario Superior Court Decision Has Remade the Charity Sector, Failed Vulnerable Canadians and Why Some People Are Cheering?"
Althia Raj's article "Super PACs In Canada? Liberals Wrestle With Politically-Active Charities After Court Ruling" covers the fallout from the Canada Without Poverty case and provides some important updates.
The CRA announced today that they are appealing the CWB decision. This is not surprising as we noted in our blog on July 30, 2018 "Canada Without Poverty vs. AG – a pyrrhic victory for CWP and a disaster for the charity sector". The CRA and Finance press release noted that "the Government of Canada identified significant errors of law and has served notice that it will be appealing the decision to address the uncertainty created by it, and to seek clarification on important issues of constitutional and charity law." As well, the government has said that they will be introducing legislation in the spring and then responding to the report of the Consultation Panel.
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 my article on the recent CWP v. AG case entitled Canada Without Poverty vs. Attorney General of Canada – a pyrrhic victory for CWP and a disaster for the charity sector. In short, I think it is a bad decision that is long term going to have very negative repercussions for the charity sector and our society as a whole.
The Canada Without Poverty v. Attorney General of Canada decision was released on July 16th. Here is the decision. I have written extensively about the importance of having Canadian charities engage in some political activities and how the rules can work for the charity sector and here is our directory on charities and political activities.
Here is a letter from CRA discussing when an official donation receipt can be issued for a gift from an estate and how the 2016 changes affect this. Here is the text of the letter:
There are certain rules in the Income Tax Act that only apply to private foundations and not charitable organizations and public foundations. These rules are called the 'excess business holdings' regime or 'excess corporate holdings' regime. They limit the amount of shares or interests a Canadian private foundation can have, or that the private foundation plus other relevant persons may have. CRA in a recent letter discusses whether the excess business holdings rules apply when the private foundation will receive the shares as a residue of an alter ego trust.
The Canadian Charity Law Association is delivering some upcoming webinars. Registration is free but space is limited. Topics are subject to change.
Canadian registered charities often have to provide assistance to people in disasters. Does an individual or business have to include this amount in their income? CRA recently released a letter discussing this issue.
Corporations Canada is looking at changing their fees in relation to the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (CNCA) as well as some other acts. Some of the most common fees like filing the annual return will be reduced and others will be increased significantly. Some fees will be eliminated completely. Here is the full proposal for consultation. In general it is a fair proposal - encouraging people to move to electronic, making some most commonly done transactions cheaper and reflecting the real cost of certain other transactions.
The Institute of Legacy Management has published voluntary ethical guidelines for charities' legacy professionals, covering issues that can arise when charities receive or solicit a legacy or bequest, including: doubts about the source of the donor's income or the donor's character; the risks of unwelcome media interest; and communicating with hostile lay executors or families. You can find the guidance here. The Charity Times has also written about the guidance, which you can find here. Although it is a UK guidance it is helpful for Canadian charities.
On Friday, the Supreme Court of Canada released two decisions relating to the proposed law school at Trinity Western University namely Law Society of British Columbia v. Trinity Western University and Trinity Western University v. Law Society of Upper Canada.
The Toronto Star recently published an article: "Inside the offshore tax scheme that left iconic Olympian Donovan Bailey owing nearly $2.3 million in unpaid taxes". ; In the article, investigative reporter Jesse McLean covered a complicated scheme to help an athlete avoid Canadian taxes in part through making a donation to a registered charity which had actually lost its registered charity status because of non-filing of the T3010 annual return. The scheme did not work.
The article notes that "According to the tax plan, Bailey's donation would flow through a complicated web of transactions before the bulk of the money would make its way back to the sprinter, tax free, through an offshore trust".
Here is an article from the Law Times on the litigation: "Judge finds lawyer negligent for advice to Olympic skier", and here is a link to the actual case: Lindsay v. Aird & Berlis LLP, 2018 ONSC 7424 (CanLII).
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.