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Canadian Charity Law List

December 2013

CRA requests “Donate wisely this holiday season!”

CRA is putting out better notices on donating wisely.  I particularly like this advice “Get to know the charity. Start by visiting the charity’s website to learn about its activities and how it’s managed. You can also review its financial information and activities by looking at its information returns using the CRA’s Charity Quick View at http://www.cra.gc.ca/charitylists. One of the best ways to learn about a charity is to volunteer.” READ MORE

Prescient Foundation leave to appeal dismissed with costs by SCC

On November 28, 2013 the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal in the case of Prescient Foundation v. Minister of National Revenue.  The SCC awarded costs against the appellant. READ MORE

Kossow appeal dismissed by Federal Court of Appeal - another abusive donation scheme crashes

The Federal Court of Appeal has decisively dismissed the Kossow appeal.  Kossow dealt with what CRA would term an “abusive charity gifting tax scheme”.  Kossow is the second major case dealing with these schemes, the first one being Marechaux.  The Federal Court of Appeal found this scheme was almost identical to Marechaux.  The FCA concluded that the Tax Court judge was correct in concluding that as in Maréchaux there was no gift for purposes of the Income Tax Act.  The FCA also dismissed other arguments such as that the TCC judgement was ‘not sufficient to permit meaningful appellate review’ or that including certain materials that were not admitted into evidence prejudiced the appellant.  The court was also not impressed with an argument that a family law case (McNamee) dealing with a gift has any relevance to a gift under the Income Tax Act.  According to the CRA there are over $6 billion in receipts issued under different abusive charity gifting tax schemes. READ MORE

Interesting US article on churches and transparency/accountability

John Montague has written an article entitled “The Law and Financial Transparency in Churches: Reconsidering the Form 990 Exemptions” in the Cardozo Law Review.  In the US, churches don’t have to file the Form 990 annual return, however, in Canada almost all churches that are registered charities need to file the T3010 on an annual basis.  The US Form 990 provides the US public with far more information than the T3010 in Canada.  That being many of the points raised by Mr. Montague about church governance, accountability and transparency are relevant to Canada.  It is important in Canada that we review the T3010. The form should provide better information to donors, volunteers and others about registered charities.  While the T3010 does provide a fair amount of information, it tends to focus too much on certain issues while ignoring others. READ MORE

Partial exclusion for Canadian registered charities from anti-spam legislation

Industry released today draft regulations to Canada’s Anti-spam Legislation (CASL) which will now come into effect on July 1, 2014.  An important exclusion that will be welcomed by registered charities is that the Act does not apply to an electronic message “(g) that is sent by or on behalf of a registered charity as defined in subsection 248(1) of the Income Tax Act and the message has as its primary purpose raising funds for the charity”. READ MORE

CRA reminds groups of December 31, 2013 deadline

The CRA put a reminder on their website today “Does your organization make its resources available to, or work with a municipal or public body performing a function of government in Canada, such as a First Nation? The December 31, 2013 deadline for registration of these bodies to maintain their qualified donee status is approaching. For more information, go to Municipal or public bodies performing a function of government in Canada.” READ MORE

More from the T3010-13 on political activities

I just reviewed the latest T3010 data disk for 2013 and here are the descriptions of activities for political activities by Canadian charities.  This is only based on 7900 of the approximately 86,000 charities. READ MORE

Blumbergs’ Snapshot of the Ontario Charity Sector 2011

We recently reviewed the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return database for 2011 as part of the Sean Blumberg Transparency Project.  We provided an overview of the whole charity sector in the Blumbergs’ Charity Sector Snapshot 2011.  We have taken a subset of the 2011 T3010 data to look at only registered charities based in Ontario.  This article provides a snapshot of the registered charity sector in Ontario based on the 2011 T3010 filings. READ MORE

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

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.