News

March 19, 2019

Canadian Federal Budget 2019 and its impact on non-profits and charities

Finance Minister Morneau delivered the 2019 Federal Budget today.  Here is our article "2019 Canadian Federal Budget - How will it affect the Canadian charitable sector?"

Finance has already released a Fall Economic Statement that did contain a number of initiatives relating to the charity sector and you can see our article "Finance 2018 Fall Economic Statement and its Impact on Canadian Charities, Journalism and Social Finance".   

March 14, 2019

Blumbergs’ International Philanthropy Conference 2019

We are pleased to announce that we will be holding a full-day event on international philanthropy on April 12, 2019: Blumbergs' International Philanthropy Conference 2019. See below for more details and we hope to see you there.

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March 13, 2019

US’s College Admission Scandal involves American Charitable Foundation

There has been a lot of coverage of the college admission scandal in the United States, in which many celebrities and wealthy executives paid large sums of money (some over $1 million US) to cheat their children's way into top universities. While some will focus on which celebrities participated and corruption in the competitive admissions processes, we shouldn't overlook the fact that money involved in this scheme was funnelled through an American 501(c)(3) corporation, which is a charitable organization. This means that in addition to cheating the system, taking a spot from a deserving and qualified but less wealthy student, and continuing privilege of the rich and famous, some participants in this scheme were getting tax deductions for their bribe money.

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March 08, 2019

Good news on charity compliance education from CRA - the ‘Road Shows’ are coming back!

The CRA announced today a number of different matters including "The Government is providing up to $5.3 million in new funding over the 2018–2019 to 2023–2024 period for the CRA to enhance sector outreach and education. This will include reinstating in-person information sessions and introducing videoconference information sessions for charities across Canada."   It is so well hidden in the press release I barely noticed it!   

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March 08, 2019

CRA Minister Responds to changes in Political Activities of Charities

Today CRA has released the Minister of National Revenue's response to the recent changes on Political Activities by Canadian registered charities. The Government has announced that this is their final response to the Report of the Consultation Panel on the Political Activities of Charities, which came out March 31, 2017. It has taken the Government almost 2 years to release its final response on the report which came out at the end of March 2017!  This report was promised for the summer of 2017 so I guess we can chalk this up to the Canadian government has never been so efficient at putting out announcements as in the week that the PM is being skewered on SNC-Lavalin.  I wonder if the Liberals will release the religion guidance they have been hiding for 4 years (and the Conservatives for many years before that).  

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March 08, 2019

Minister of National Revenue press release on the Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector (ACCS)

The Minister of National Revenue, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier put out a news release on March 7, 2019 dealing the new Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector (ACCS).  I was expecting details in the budget but receiving these details today by press release was a bit surprising.  Forgive me for being a bit cynical in this time of the SNC-Lavalin affair in Ottawa I can only imagine that there is pressure on civil servants to put out lots of releases and information to distract, I mean focus, the attention of people on what is really important! 

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March 03, 2019

Upcoming Webinars for the Canadian Charity Law Association

The Canadian Charity Law Association is delivering some upcoming webinars. Registration is free but space is limited. Topics are subject to change. 

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March 03, 2019

Registered Charities and CRA Charity Audits

The Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) Charities Directorate is the de facto regulator of Registered Charities in Canada and they audit between 600 and 800 charities per year.   This article Registered Charities and CRA Charity Audits will help you understand the process for dealing with a CRA charity audit and the likely outcomes.   

March 02, 2019

SNC-Lavalin Affair and the Charity Sector

The SNC-Lavalin affair has been in the news for a while. Here is an article on how this SNC-Lavalin scandal relates to the charity sector.

February 27, 2019

BC Bodner Estate Case - yes an estate can give to a list of charities and non-profits

An interesting little case in BC called Bodner Estate.   Irene Bodna died and left about 8m to 24 different registered charities and non-profits that are all interested in animal welfare and the environment.  A small amount was as an outright gift and the rest was a perpetual fund paying out the net income.  

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February 27, 2019

T3010 and political activities - changes are coming

The CRA recently posted on their T3010 page that "In December 2018, the rules governing the political activities of registered charities changed as a result of new legislation that permits charities to carry on unlimited public policy dialogue and development activities in furtherance of a stated charitable purpose. Under the new rules, the reporting requirements related to a charity’s spending on political activities are no longer relevant. The Canada Revenue Agency is revising Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return, and will publish instructions on its webpages soon."

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February 27, 2019

CRA letter on rebate donation program

Here is the text of a recent CRA letter on a rebate donation program and whether donors can claim a tax deduction.  Not surprisingly CRA was not prepared to confirm that a donation receipt can be issued and these sorts of matters very much depend on all the facts that are relevant.   That being said CRA does lay out some of the matters to consider.   

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February 27, 2019

Kaul v. The Queen - Tax Court of Canada and appraisal of FMV when gifting scheme

In the Tax Court of Canada case Kaul v. The Queen, CRA denied certain claims for tax credits relating to an art donation scheme.  The taxpayers appealed and the Tax Court of Canada sided with CRA.  There is lots of discussion around valuation reports, fair market value and art work. 

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February 27, 2019

CRA releases Q&A on public policy dialogue and development activities by charities

The CRA recently released a question and answer document on the December 2018 political activity changes and the new guidance on public policy dialogue and development activities by charities.  Here is the Q&A

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February 27, 2019

CRA updates info sheet “How a Charity Completes Its GST/HST Return”

The CRA has recently updated its info sheet "How a Charity Completes Its GST/HST Return".  Here is the CRA document.  

February 27, 2019

Revised P113 - Gifts and Income Tax 2018 - deals with tax benefits of donating to charities

The CRA document P113 - Gifts and Income Tax 2018 is a helpful guide to the tax consequences of donations to registered charities and qualified donees.  It has been recently updated.    

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January 30, 2019

CRA revokes charity that spent almost 200m on foreign activities over last 5 years

Global News journalist Stewart Bell recently wrote an article "Government revokes charity status of Canadian Jewish group that supported ‘foreign armed forces’".  The articles discusses the recent revocation of the Canadian registered charity Beth Oloth Charitable Organization.  You can see detailed information on Beth Oloth at www.CharityData.ca.  It is quite clear from this Charitydata webpage that this organization went from having very little revenue to spending in the last few years over $200 million and apparently spending over 193m outside of Canada.

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January 27, 2019

When is the new Ontario Not-For-Profit Corporations (ONCA) coming into force?

I recently wondered with this new Ontario government whether there was any change relating to the new Ontario Not-For-Profit Corporations (ONCA).  It is supposed to come into force at the beginning of 2020.  So I wrote to the Ontario government on January 10, 2019 and they replied on January 25, 2019 with the following:

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January 21, 2019

CRA releases draft guidance “Public policy dialogue and development activities by charities”

The CRA today released its draft guidance "Public policy dialogue and development activities by charities".   This guidance will replace CRA's Guidance CPS-022, Political activities.  The CRA is asking for feedback on this draft administrative guidance and providing until April 23, 2019 for that feedback.  Here is a PDF of the draft guidance and here is a link to the draft guidance on the CRA website.  We will be providing further information on this draft to our clients and on our blog.  

January 14, 2019

Course - Should We Establish a Canadian Social Enterprise, Non-Profit or Charity and How to Do It?

We have created a course entitled "Should We Establish a Canadian Social Enterprise, Non-Profit or Charity and How to Do It?".   The course is $149 and you can register at https://charity-law.teachable.com/   Here is an overview of the course:

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January 13, 2019

Fallacies about private foundations in 2019 - an article on the many myths about private foundations

The compliance requirements and restrictions on private foundations in Canada are frequently misunderstood, even by those who run large private foundations.   Here is our article Fallacies about private foundations in 2019 that might be helpful in dispelling these myths. 

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January 10, 2019

“Impossible to Justify” A Political Scientist Takes on American Philanthropy - David Callahan review

David Callahan recently reviewed Rob Reich's new book "Just Giving: Why Philanthropy is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better." in an article "Impossible to Justify" A Political Scientist Takes on American Philanthropy".  The review and the book are a further wake-up call that there are concerns in the public about philanthropy.    We can wait for people to become more cynical of the charity sector or we can act now to prevent that.   It is definitely worth reading David Callahan's review.  

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January 09, 2019

Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law Boot Camp 2019

We are pleased to announce that we will be hosting Blumbergs' Canadian Charity Law Boot Camp again on Monday April 8, 2019. This is a one-day boot camp on compliance and standards issues for Canadian registered charities. You can register for the program here

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January 08, 2019

Addition to “Foreign charities that have received a gift from Her Majesty in right of Canada”

The Swiss Aga Khan Foundation has been added to the list of "Foreign charities that have received a gift from Her Majesty in right of Canada".  They have not been on the list for a number of years.  We have discussed this category previously.   There are only 3 groups at the moment on the list

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January 02, 2019

Safeguarding and preventing abuse of vulnerable and other individuals by charities

The Charity Commission of England and Wales has significant material to help charities understand the importance of putting in place systems and implementing them to safeguard charity beneficiaries, as well as staff and volunteers.   Sometimes the issue is framed in terms of "vulnerable" beneficiaries such as children or the elderly but similar principals apply to employees, volunteers, suppliers etc.  The issue has been covered recently in the media and for Canadian charities, there is little guidance on the topic from the CRA.

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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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