Topics: News, What's New from the Charities Directorate of CRA, Canadian Charity Law, Ethics and Canadian Charities
Here are some comments from Cathy Hawara, Director General of the Charities Directorate, relating to the 2011 Federal Budget provisions enhancing transparency for qualified donees (ie. those organizations who can issue official donation receipts).
“The first change introduced by Budget 2011 that I’d like to talk about is the extension of the application of some of the registered charity rules to a number of other qualified donees. Generally, in order to be eligible to issue official donation receipts, “qualified donees” are now required to be on a publicly accessible list that we at the CRA maintain. I am pleased to be able to tell you that several lists have already been completed and were made available to the public on our Web site at the beginning of this year. These include the list of registered Canadian amateur athletic associations, or RCAAAs, recognized Canadian municipalities, prescribed universities outside Canada, and foreign charitable organizations in receipt of gifts from Her Majesty in right of Canada. This means donors can now verify whether these qualified donees are listed and can issue receipts.
We are still working to establish the lists of municipal or public bodies performing a function of government and low-cost housing corporations for the aged. Unlike the others, these last two entities will need to apply to be added to the list the CRA will maintain, in order to become or continue to be qualified donees. We are currently developing the process for these entities to make that request. During the transition period, their status as “qualified donees” remains unchanged.
Budget 2011 also tightened the rules related to an RCAAA’s purpose and function. It also removed the requirement that it be a non-profit organization, creating a separate tax-exemption for RCAAAs. Previously, an RCAAA’s primary purpose and primary function had to be the promotion of amateur athletics in Canada on a nation-wide basis. Under the new rules, its purpose and function must now be exclusively to promote amateur athletics in Canada on a nation-wide basis. However, the ITA was also amended to allow RCAAAs to carry-on related business activities, limited non-partisan political activities, and to allow for the involvement of professional athletes.
Other changes affecting RCAAAs include the authority for CRA to disclose certain information to the public, such as governing documents, names of directors, and notifications of registration or revocation. This brings them closer in line with what we can disclose about registered charities.
I’m pleased to let you know that new Web pages providing RCAAAs and other listed qualified donees with specific information on how these changes affect them were published to the CRA Web site in January. These same Web pages allow donors to verify whether an entity is a qualified donee. Also, the application to register an RCAAA, Form T1189, was updated and the revised version of the form has been available on our Web site since February of this year.
Finally, I can also confirm that there is no change to the RCAAA annual information return (Form T2052). We do intend to review the return, but that process is unlikely to begin before late fall or early winter.”
Here is the full text of Cathy Hawara’s comments on the CRA website:
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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.