Planned Giving and Canadian Charities

March 22, 2016

2016 Federal Budget and its impact on non-profits and charities

Today the new Liberal Government has delivered their first budget.  Here is our article 2016 Canadian Federal Budget - How will it affect the Canadian charitable sector?

February 13, 2016

CRA provides information on graduated rate estates and charitable donations

The CRA has provided some information on how estate donations will change in 2016.  Essentially the tax benefits for bequests and certain designations may increase as there is added flexibility as which income can be offset by the estate's charitable donation.  

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January 19, 2016

Finance proposals to adjust deadline for donation by estate to charity from 3 years to 5 years

The Department of Finance has released Legislative Proposals Relating to Income Taxation of Certain Trusts and Estates.   There are a number of amendments to the Income Tax Act.   The Conservative government had previously provided greater flexibility with bequest donations so that the donation could be made by the individual or the estate.   However, there was a deadline of 36 months from the date of death.  It has now been extended to 60 months or 5 years.  

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November 23, 2015

CRA letter on gifting to a public foundation

CRA recently released a letter which discusses whether a gift of a share of the capital stock of a corporation to a public foundation to which subsection 118.1(5) applies after 2015, would qualify as an 'excepted gift' as defined in subsection 118.1(19) of the Income Tax Act. 

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August 26, 2015

Finance releases consultation on draft legislative proposals for Budget 2015 charity provisions

The Department of Finance in late July released for consultation purposes draft legislative proposals that will have an impact on charities.   The 2 main changes are an "exemption from capital gains tax for certain dispositions involving private corporation shares or real estate where the cash proceeds are donated to a registered charity within 30 days" and "providing rules to enable registered charities to acquire or hold interests in limited partnerships in certain circumstances."

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July 05, 2015

CRA guidance on the 2015 Federal budget released

The CRA has posted guidance on the recent 2015 Federal Budget and specifically the provisions relating to donations involving private corporation shares or real estate and the ability of registered charities to invest in limited partnerships.

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April 28, 2015

Fundamentals of Receipting by Canadian Charities [SOLD OUT]

Properly issuing official donation receipts has been challenging for many registered charities.  According to the CRA, 89% of registered charities that are audited are not correctly issuing official donation receipts.  Issuing incorrect receipts can result in revocation or penalties. It is easier to do it right than fix problems later! Here is a new half-day program from Blumbergs entitled "Fundamentals of Receipting by Canadian Charities".

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March 11, 2015

CRA letter on gifts made by will

CRA recently released a letter which discusses whether a gift by will of marketable securities provided to a Foundation would be deemed to have been made immediately before the death of the donor.  CRA concluded that the gift did constitute a gift by will made immediately before the death of the donor under subsection 118.1 (5) of the ITA.  The letter appears to have been written before the 2014 budget, which will have an impact on the bequests are dealt with in estates where the testator died on or after January 1, 2016.     

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February 21, 2015

Recent decision of the BC Supreme Court in Re Mulgrave School Foundation

The British Columbia Supreme Court recently released a decision, Re Mulgrave School Foundation, which discusses charitable gifts that are made for a specific charitable purpose and whether it is possible to change that purpose. Unfortunately, in this case the donors and schools had restricted their gift to be an endowment for scholarships and they did not have in the agreement a power to amend the restrictions.

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February 13, 2015

CRA letter on Spousal Sharing of Charitable Gifts

CRA recently released a letter with respect to spousal sharing of charitable gifts that was written to David Sherman, one of Canada's top tax lawyers.  As a result of recent legislative amendments in Bill C-43 which received Royal Assent on December 16, 2014, CRA has changed their administrative practice with respect to spousal sharing of charitable gifts with respect to deaths occurring after 2015 (i.e. in 2016 or later).  Bill C-43 included amendments affecting how will and certain designated gifts will be treated for tax purposes for gifts occurring after 2015 and according to CRA this necessitated the change.  The legislative changes affect the taxation of gifts made by will - in some case they will provide greater flexibility but in other cases or situations they may deny certain tax benefits.   

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December 01, 2014

Mark speaking on planned giving at 2nd Elderly Client Conference

Mark Blumberg will be speaking on "Planned Giving and the Elderly Client" conference on January 23, 2015

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November 26, 2014

CBC story on “Canada Revenue Agency privacy breach leaks prominent Canadians’ tax details”

The CBC has disclosed that CRA had provided them with a list of private information on taxpayers who had applied for certain tax benefits as a result of donating cultural property through the Cultural Property Export Review Board.   Disclosure of confidential taxpayer information is a serious issue and CRA has released a statement apologizing for the laps and confirming that the CRA will contact each of the taxpayers who were affected. This disclosure appears to be accidental and a mistake on CRA's part.  

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September 01, 2014

Finance consults on draft tax legislation on bequests to Canadian charities and trust taxation

Following up on the 2014 Budget, Finance has released draft tax legislation for consultation.  The changes with respect to bequests to registered charities are from Budget 2014, and will allow some greater flexibility for claiming the charitable donations against either the estate or a trust.   This bequest proposal has generally been welcomed.  It will deal with some situations were there is a mismatch between the income a deceased person or their estate has and the amount of gift left to charity.   

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March 21, 2014

CRA letter on charitable gifts by secondary will

The CRA recently released a letter which discusses whether a taxpayer's estate was entitled to donation tax credits claimed for a charitable gift made by an individual in her secondary will. The use of a Primary and Secondary Will may be for a number of reasons, although typically in Ontario  the assets that don't require probate are placed in a different will to those assets that do require probate.   In this way some of the probate tax can be avoided.   The letter discusses various issues such as whether the trustees had the discretion to make a gift to a Charity and the factors considered when determining whether a donation to a charity has been made by a taxpayer in their will.

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February 10, 2014

2014 Federal Budget and its Impact on Canadian Charities

Today Finance Minister Jim Flaherty introduced the Canadian Federal Budget 2014.  The budget had a large number of provisions dealing with non-profits and charities. Here are some excerpts from the Federal Budget in one PDF document.    Overall I was very pleased with the provisions of the budget dealing with charities.

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January 27, 2014

The Globe and Mail: ‘Forever’ falls out of fashion in charitable giving

The Globe and Mail recently had an article which discusses the concept of perpetual endowments as well as the use of donor advised funds and bequests. Read article >

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July 04, 2013

Planned Giving and Professional Advisors - The Why and How to Involve Professional Advisors

In this article I discuss the importance of Canadian charities involving professional advisors in their planned giving efforts.

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July 04, 2013

Starting a Basic Planned Giving Program for a Canadian Charity -  A Lawyer’s Perspective

In this article I provide some suggestions to charities in Canada as to how they can easily start a planned giving program for their charity.

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July 04, 2013

What is planned giving?

In this article I discuss different planned giving vehicles in Canada.

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June 14, 2013

New CRA Application for “Municipal or public bodies performing a function of government in Canada”

The CRA has just released its new process for recognizing “municipal or public bodies performing a function of government in Canada”.  Here is a PDF OF THE ARTICLE This will be of particular interest to Aboriginal bands, school boards and others who may wish to obtain this recognition as it makes them a qualified donee and therefore able to issue official donation receipts and also more easily receive funds from other Canadian charities.  We hope that this new process will facilitate philanthropy in the Aboriginal space.  There are probably over a thousand organizations that could one day be listed on the CRA website, which will make donations to them far simpler and easier.  It is important to note that as of January 1, 2014 for a group to be recognized under the category “municipal or public bodies performing a function of government in Canada” it cannot self-assess but must be on the list.  Some organizations will want to proceed quickly with the process as CRA has not set out a service standard yet and therefore it is difficult to know how long the process will take.  It is also interesting to note that “...organizations that apply before January 1, 2014, and that can show that they met the requirements to be a municipal or public body performing a function of government in Canada as of January 1, 2012, will be given qualified donee status retroactive to that date.”  Although a lawyer is not required to send the letter to CRA some organizations may wish to retain legal counsel to assist with this and other matters such as appropriate issuance of receipts and required books and records. 

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March 10, 2013

AFP Greater Toronto Chapter Fundraising Day 2013 - Planned Giving Institute - June 5, 2013

On June 5, 2013, Trevor Clark and myself will be delivering the “Planned Giving Institute” for AFP Toronto’s Fundraising Day.

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February 11, 2013

House of Commons Finance Committee releases report today on Tax Incentives for Charitable Giving

Today the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance (FINA) released its much anticipated report on Tax Incentives for Charitable Giving in Canada.  The report discuss “Charitable Donations and Donors in Canada”, “The Regulation of Charities”, “Tax Incentives and their Estimated Federal Fiscal Cost”  as well as specific proposals such as Charitable Donations Tax Credit Thresholds and Rates and Donations of Real Property and Shares of Private and Public Corporations.  There is also discussions of bequests and tax fairness as well transparency and accountability of charities.

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September 03, 2012

CRA letter on tax implications of donation of newly acquired life insurance policy to charity

The CRA recently sent a letter discussing the tax implications of a donor making a gift of a newly acquired life insurance policy to a registered charity.

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August 13, 2012

CRA letter on dates and value to be used on official donation receipt for bequest under will

Here is a CRA letter which discusses the dates and value to be used on official donation receipts for a bequest under will.

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April 04, 2011

Leave a Legacy Community Outreach Program -“You Don’t Need to be Rich to be a Philanthropist”

I will be co-presenting for Canadian Association of Gift Planners Greater Toronto Area RoundTable on June 13th at 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. on “You Don’t Need to be Rich to be a Philanthropist: Making an impact with your charitable giving” at the Toronto Reference Library.

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Do you require legal advice with respect to Canadian or Ontario non-profits or charities?


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.
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