Many people know that CRA has a publicly accessible database of Canadian registered charities. They may also be aware, that if you are in the database, you are registered charity. There are many benefits of being a registered charity including the ability to issue official donation receipts and to receive gifts from other registered charities. But, did you know that there are approximately 38,299 former registered charities that you can search as well? Some of these former charities have lost their charitable status for non-filing or even voluntarily requesting the loss of status. The status of others were revoked for significant transgressions, such as issuing $600m in questionable receipts! There is quite a continuum here. Everything from absolutely no problem but the volunteers are tired to high questionable conduct.
In order to search for charities that were revoked as a result of an audit in the CRA database, go to the advanced search page and make sure that you change the "Charity Status", which defaults as "registered", to either "ALL" or "Revocation - Audited". You can also specify the date or date range, for example look at charities revoked in the last 3 months etc. You can also restrict by City, Province, Country, Postal Code, Designation, Charity Type and Category.
The database has the following drop down options in terms of status:
Registered - [default option - There are currently 86,417 registered charities. They are qualified donees and you can donate to them].
ALL - [which provides the names of all registered charities and former registered charities - there have been in total 125,031 registered charities],
Revoked [all revoked charities which is now about 38,299 - this includes revocation for a number of reasons listed below],
Revoked - Failure to File [charities that did not file their T3010 Registered Charity Information Return which is at 20,306],
Revoked - Audited [Charities that were revoked as a result of audit, what CRA used to refer to as "cause" - there are 447 of those],
Revoked - Voluntary [the charity had asked for the revocation which now stands at 17,479 ],
Revoked - Other [which is usually the corporate entity is dissolved if you don't exist you cannot be a charity - there are 67 of these].
Then when you search it gives you access to more than just those charities that are currently registered. There is also historic information on those former charities provided.
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.