What's New from the Charities Directorate of CRA

March 30, 2017

Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Sector Snapshot 2015

We have just released our Blumbergs Canadian Charity Sector Snapshot 2015.  Lots of interesting statistics and information on the Canadian charity sector.  As well if you want information on individual charities checkout our charity data site at www.charitydata.ca

March 22, 2017

2017 Canadian Federal Budget and its impact on non-profits and charities

The 2017 Canadian Federal Budget was released today.  Here is our article 2017 Canadian Federal Budget - How will it affect the Canadian charitable sector? 

March 19, 2017

OHA Strengthening Foundation Governance: Current Issues, Challenges and Solutions

The Ontario Hospital Association is having a conference entitled "Strengthening Foundation Governance: Current Issues, Challenges and Solutions".  I will be presenting on Charitable Giving, Transparency and Standards. There will be a number of other interesting presentations.  

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March 17, 2017

CRA sending out notices on T3010 filings

Here is a redacted copy of a notice sent by the Charities Directorate of CRA reminding charities of their filing date and the consequences of not filing the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return within 6 months of the end of your fiscal year.  

March 14, 2017

Upcoming Webinars for the Canadian Charity Law Association

The Canadian Charity Law Association is delivering some upcoming webinars.  Registration is free but space is limited. 

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March 11, 2017

IRFAN Canada makes application to Federal Court to remove terrorist designation

A number of Canadian charities have been revoked by CRA for supporting terrorism in addition to other concerns. One of those organizations was The International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (Canada) or IRFAN Canada. It lost its charitable status in 2011.  Subsequently in 2014 it was added to the list of terrorist organizations maintained under the Criminal Code.   Apparently a request had been made by IRFAN Canada to the Minister of Public Safety to de-list the applicant from the list of terrorist organizations. On December 22, 2016, the Minister of Public Safety denied the request.  Now IRFAN Canada has made an application to Federal Court for judicial review to set aside the denial.

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March 10, 2017

CRA’s Report on the Charities Program 2015-2016

AFP recently published an article of mine on the CRA’s Report on the Charities Program 2015-2016.  They noted "Statistics, while helpful, sometimes require interpretation to fully understand the context of the material being presented. Lawyer Mark Blumberg provides a summary of the key takeaways from the Canada Revenue Agency's 2015-2016 Report on the Charities Directorate and Sector."  Here is the article CRA’s Report on the Charities Program 2015-2016.

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March 07, 2017

Government of Canada to combine all Federal government websites into Canada.ca

The consolidation of all Government of Canada websites into one domain at www.canada.ca has started.  In theory this is an opportunity to have a more streamlined, secure government website.  I have two concerns about how this will affect charities. 

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March 07, 2017

Can Canadian private foundations invest in limited partnerships?

There are many rules and restrictions on Canadian private foundations and their investments.   In 2015, the Federal government gave private foundations greater ability to invest in limited partnerships.   If certain conditions are met from a CRA Income Tax Act perspective a private foundation can invest in limited partnerships.  Keep in mind there are also corporate, trust law and fiduciary requirements that also need to be complied with.  

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February 26, 2017

CRA updates information sheet for prescribed university applications

CRA recently updated their guidance with respect to becoming a prescribed university outside of Canada. There are about 600 foreign prescribed universities and they can issue official donation receipts similar to a Canadian registered charity.  The updated CRA publication (RC 191) includes some revisions to the information that CRA requires for applications for prescribed university status (eligibility criteria however has not changed). The main change is that CRA only asks for 5 years information on Canadian students at the foreign university and not 10 years as they had previously requested.  

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February 24, 2017

CRA has updated the T2050 form - Application to Register a Charity

The Canada Revenue Agency ('CRA') recently updated the T2050 form used by organizations when applying for charitable status with the Charities Directorate of the CRA. 

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February 13, 2017

Corporations Canada gives final final notice that non-profits must continue

A notice from Corporations Canada of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (formerly Industry Canada) entitled "Last chance for not-for-profits to transition" has been sent out reminding non-profits that if they are still under the old Canada Corporations Act that they need to transition to the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act or they will be dissolved.  The final final deadline is July 31, 2017 to have completed the process.  

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February 12, 2017

More CRA guidance on cause-related marketing by Canadian registered charities

The CRA has added a page on cause-related marketing page to the receipting part of their website.  The CRA seems largely concerned that in some cases no official donation receipt should be issued when there is a cause related marketing arrangement between a Canadian charity and a for-profit company.

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February 10, 2017

CRA has new Checklist Tool for charities applying to be a registered charity

If you are into technology and like to click things and then see those clicks magically be reflected in a newly generated page then you are going to love CRA's new Checklist Tool for Canadian registered charity applications.  It allows for lots of clicking. It also provides some useful information. Perhaps this new technological solution/format will be good for those who are not interested in reading CRA's Guide T4063, Registering a Charity for Income Tax Purposes.  Perhaps more charity applications will be better prepared and therefore require a less detailed CRA response. Perhaps this will result in faster charity processing times which now can range from 2 months to 12 months. As we have noted about ten days ago most charity applications are not being accepted by CRA.

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January 30, 2017

Terrorist attack at mosque in Quebec City claims 6 lives

On Sunday January 29, 2017 there was a terrible tragedy in Quebec City. A right-wing terrorist massacred six people praying at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec and injured almost 20 others.  This is the worst terrorist attack in Canada in over 25 years.

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January 29, 2017

What are the chances of your Canadian charity application succeeding?

In Canada, the Charities Directorate of CRA reviews carefully all registered charity applications.  Some of the latest statistics from the CRA show that most charities that apply for registration are not granted it.  It is not that these organizations are bad - but you have to meet all the criteria for a registered charity to be accepted by CRA. While 1670 were accepted in 2015-16 fiscal year, many more received unfavarouble decisions.  Unlike the US in which the 501c3 application process appears to have been stripped down to almost nothing - here in Canada there is still a vigorous process to protect the integrity of the registered charity system.

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January 22, 2017

The second best Canadian registered charity transparency tool has been improved

In August 2016 we launched a website to improve transparency on Canadian registered charities.  It is at www.charitydata.ca  We have just made a number of improvements to the website.

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January 04, 2017

CRA’s Report on the Charities Program - useful information on the Canadian charity sector

The CRA released a report today entitled Report on the Charities Program.  It has lots of useful information on the charity sector, regulation of charities, statistics relating to the Charities Directorate and various new developments.  

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December 28, 2016

Ignorance isn’t bliss for large registered charities anymore as CRA focuses audits on them

CRA uses a risk based approach to deciding which charities are to be audited. CRA a few months ago announced they are adjusting their audit strategy to focus more on larger Canadian registered charities. I guess someone in the past might had thought that smaller organizations, many without any staff, might be less legally compliant and they should be focused on. I guess someone now at the Charities Directorate has worked out that larger organizations have a large amount of resources, generally a lot more complexity and are more likely to be non-compliant with the requirements of the Income Tax Act and such non-compliance could affect much larger amounts of resources.

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December 27, 2016

CRA closes consultation on political activities with a press release

The CRA has recently completed a 2 1/2 month consultation with Canadians on the ability of Canadian charities to conduct political activities. Here is the full text of the CRA press release on the closing of the political activity consultation on December 14, 2016:

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December 27, 2016

What is a “development project” and how can this add further flexibility to foreign activities

CRA's Guidance CG-002, Canadian Registered Charities Carrying Out Activities Outside Canada discusses a "development project".  The guidance provides Canadian registered charities greater leeway in certain instances when conducting a "development project" to be able to hand over capital assets and immovable assets to a foreign non-qualified donee.  I have always thought that a development project would be carried out in what is referred to as the Global South/Third World/Developing Countries (the "South") and would be trying to reduce poverty, promote education, improve the environment, or improve access to health care to provide some examples.

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December 26, 2016

Which Canadian Private Foundations had the largest total expenditures in 2013-2015?

We recently reviewed the private foundations contained on the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return for 2013, 2014 and 2015.   We looked at who had the largest expenditures, what their total assets were and the percentage of total assets that were disbursed in that particular year.  Here are the results:

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December 21, 2016

CRA releases new form for charities to change director, trustee, or like official information

The Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) recently released a new form which allows charities to easily update CRA on any changes to their directors, trustees or like officials.  The Charities Directorate will not speak to an individual on matters relating to a Canadian registered charity unless they are an authorized representative of the charity so it is important that CRA has up to date and accurate information on file relating to a charity's directors, trustees or like officials.

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December 09, 2016

CRA releases new Guidance on Relieving conditions attributable to being aged

Canada Revenue Agency recently released a new CRA guidance, CG-026, Relieving conditions attributable to being aged and charitable registration that replaces the previous CPS-002 Relief of the Aged CRA guidance. 

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November 25, 2016

CRA has released a folio on “Split-receipting and Deemed Fair Market Value”

CRA has just released a chapter in their Income Tax Folio series for charities and non-profit organizations.   The new part is S7-F1-C1, Split-receipting and Deemed Fair Market Value.  Income Tax Folios are CRA’s official summary of its interpretation on certain income tax matters and this is the first chapter for Folio 1 Charitable Gifts and Deductions. The new folio relates to subsections 248(30) to (41) of the Income Tax Act (Canada), which contain the split-receipting rules and deemed fair market value rule.

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

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Charity Lawyer 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.

mark@blumbergs.ca
416.361.1982
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