We assist Canadian charities, their staff and boards of directors, to understand their legal and ethical obligations when operating a Canadian registered charity and provide insights and information to non-Canadian charities interested in operating or fundraising in Canada.
The charitable sector in Canada has become more challenging. It is highly competitive with over 86,000 Canadian registered charities. As well donors, regulators, media, the public as well as other stakeholders, have increasingly high expectations of charities and how they operate. We assist charities in Canada grapple with these important legal and standards issues.
On the CRA website there is a list of foreign charities that received a gift from the Canadian government. CRA has just released a new Guidance CG - 023 Qualified donee: Foreign charities that have received a gift from Her Majesty in right of Canada which discusses how foreign charities are placed on the list.
The CBC in an article entitled "Charity tax fraud to cost brothers their freedom" how two brothers were each sentenced to over 4 years for being involved in charity fraud over nearly $5 million. It shows how the CRA is increasingly using criminal convictions instead of just revocations. The judge described the fraud as "industrial scale". The article notes "The total number of false claims over the life of the scheme was more than 1,700 for a purported $11.4 million of alleged donations." Keep in mind that this was only issuing $5 million in fraudulent receipts which is a tiny tiny amount compared to some other schemes out there.
The Daily Beast has a rather extensive article on Donald Trump's use of the Trump Foundation entitled Donald Trump Accused of Using His Charity as a Political Slush Fund. It is well worth reading. I have criticized the Clinton Foundation for some lapses when it came to transparency and especially the lame excuses they gave in response to questions. Nothing that the Clinton's have done with their foundation seems to be even close to the seriousness of the allegations leveled against the Trump Foundation.
CRA recently released two new online registered charity information request forms which have been created to simplify the process when requesting certain types of information from CRA. Previously this information was typically requested by sending a letter/fax to CRA. Now it can be done online. This is a giant step forward in making it easier for Canadians to be able to access public information from the CRA's Charities Directorate on Canadian registered charities.
The NPORIP was a major initiative of the Federal government to look at the approximately 80,000 - 100,000 organizations that are non-profits but not registered charities and the extent to which there are compliance issues. In July 2013 the CRA prepared a draft "final" 76 page report (the "July 2013 Report") which we have attached. It is 18 MB so it may take a minute to load.
The IRS recently released a report entitled "Stewards of the Public Trust: Long-Range Planning for the Future of the IRS and the Exempt Community". The Report was prepared by the Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT), which is an advisory body of the IRS. I was one of the people interviewed for the report in September 2015 and I am glad to see the report finally come out.