The CRA has announced “The Application review process Web page has been updated to reflect the new procedures we follow when an applicant does not respond to our request for clarification or more information.” CRA is streamlining the application system so that if an applicant who has provided an application that is missing information etc. does not respond within 60 days of the CRA requesting the additional information then CRA will close the file. CRA will not deny the application (which one could appeal from) but just close the file. An applicant can always put in another application the next day if they wish.
Here is the CRA Charities Directorate page:
“Application review process When we first receive an application, we verify that it is complete (all the information and documents requested on the application form are included).
•If an application is complete, we send the applicant an acknowledgement letter. The letter states the approximate amount of time it will take before the application is assigned to an officer for review.
•If an application is incomplete, we reject it and return it to the applicant.
If we need clarification or more information
We may contact the applicant for more information and documentation to help us decide on an application. We may also offer the applicant the opportunity to amend its purposes so that they accurately reflect its activities. Generally, the applicant will have 60 days to respond. If the applicant:
•provides us with a response that fails to show that its purposes and activities are charitable, we will likely deny the application, and will provide a written final decision.
•believes that it has already provided all the required information, it can notify us in writing and we will provide a written final decision.
•does not provide a response, we will consider its application abandoned and its file will be closed without further notice. An applicant does not have the right to appeal a decision to close an application because the applicant was not officially denied registration.
If the organization would still like to become a registered charity after its file has been closed, it can re-apply. The organization will have to send us a new application with all the required documents for registration.
If we refuse to register
If we determine that an applicant’s purposes or activities are clearly not charitable, we will send a letter stating that we have denied the applicant registration.
If we deny registration, an applicant can appeal the decision by filing a notice of objection to the following address within 90 days of the day our letter was mailed:
250 Albert Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0L5
If we approve registration
If we approve registration, we will send a Notification of Registration. This notification includes an organization’s:
•rights and responsibilities as a registered charity;
•registration number; and
•effective date of registration.
The Notice of Registration should be kept in a safe place - accessible to all authorized representatives of the charity.
Missing information causes delays. To avoid delays:
•answer all questions on Form T2050, Application to Register a Charity Under the Income Tax Act;
•include all required documents; and
•provide all details and specific information requested.
Common delays occur when an applicant fails to provide:
•a complete list of the directors, trustees, or like officials (with each person’s address, telephone number, and date of birth);
•a complete set of governing documents (including any by-laws and amendments, if applicable);
•a certificate of good standing or similar document from the appropriate registrar (if the organization has been incorporated for five years or more, or if the organization is incorporated and applying for re-registration);
•complete financial information about the organization (this includes completing Q17 on the application form, as well as providing the organization’s latest financial statements, if applicable);
•a complete description of the organization’s activities to show that they are charitable and fulfill the organization’s purposes, as stated in its governing documents; and
•copies of any agreements or contracts the organization has with representatives carrying out the organization’s activities inside or outside Canada (if applicable) and complete details about these arrangements. See Canadian Registered Charities Carrying Out Activities Outside Canada for more information.
Draft governing documents
We will review draft governing documents on a one-time basis if we receive them with a complete application (all information and documents requested on the application must be included with the draft governing documents).
Following this review, if we determine that the applicant is likely to qualify for registration, we will ask the applicant to provide “certified” copies of the governing documents within 60 days. If we do not receive these documents on time, the application will be closed without further contact from us. An applicant does not have the right to appeal a decision to close an application because the applicant was not officially denied registration.
For incorporated organizations (established by letters patent, memorandum of association, application to form a society, etc.), certified means that the documents bear an effective date and are stamped by the appropriate registrar. For organizations created by a constitution, certified means that the constitution contains the signatures of at least three current directors/trustees or like officials of the organization and bears an effective date. For trust documents, certified means that the document contains the signatures of the trustees and bears an effective date.
If an organization needs to have its application reviewed on a priority basis, it must send us details in writing that explain the reason. An application will not be reviewed ahead of others for reasons such as “to give tax receipts for donations” or “to receive grants from funding agencies”. These reasons are shared by almost all organizations applying for registration.”
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.