December 12, 2015

CRA revoking registered charities for long term inactivity

The CRA has been focusing in on charities that have not been active for a number of consecutive years.  They have been sending out letters to the various charities asking  them if they want to voluntarily give up their charitable status, or explain the reason for inactivity, or CRA may take compliance action.  CRA is presumably concerned with inactive charities as they clog up the system and also may be targets for charity scammers to take over and use inappropriately.   

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December 08, 2015

R. v. Kueviakoe - using the criminal courts to go after charity fraud

In R. v. Kueviakoe, 2015 ONCJ 681 (CanLII) Ekue Kueviakoe was charged with numerous offences contrary to the Income Tax Act (Canada) because he prepared many false income tax returns.  He was fined at a rate of 100% of the tax avoided on all those income tax returns and sentenced to a one year conditional sentence ie. house arrest.  He will have to pay over $70,000 in fines.   The Judge took into account a myriad of factors in determining the sentence including sick members of his family, his loss of a stable job resulting from the fraud etc.  The Judge noted that in terms of the taxpayers "The Canada Revenue Agency reassessed each of those people such that they are responsible for paying their portion of those taxes.  The Canada Revenue Agency has therefore already been reimbursed.  The individual taxpayers might also have been assessed administrative penalties for their part in this."  

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December 07, 2015

Canadian government proposes larger tax incentive for donations against donors income over $200,000

As we know the Federal government is creating a new higher top marginal tax rate for those earning income over $200,000 and increasing the tax on that income from 29% to 33%.  From a tax policy perspective this will increase the progressivity of the income tax system in Canada.  The Federal government is also increasing the tax credit for donors that are in the 33% marginal tax bracket so that instead of the 29% tax incentive they will receive a 33% Federal tax incentive.  So for people earning over $200,000 in 2016 this will mean a greater tax incentive for certain donations that offset their income over $200,000.  The increased incentive will only take effect on January 1, 2016.

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December 06, 2015

Charity Commission encourages directors of charities to take responsibility for fundraising

There has been a large amount of scrutiny of fundraising practices in the UK over the last number of years and especially the last few months.   The Charity Commission of England and Wales has published new draft guidance "which states more clearly than ever that trustees must take responsibility for the fundraising undertaken by their charities."

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December 06, 2015

Toronto Star article “Cancer foundation co-founder misused donor cash, judge finds”

The Toronto Star had an article of December 5, 2015 entitled "Cancer foundation co-founder misused donor cash, judge finds". It sheds some light on how a co-founder of a Canadian registered charity, Steven Sokolowski, has been ordered to repay to the charity a large amount of money for "private parties, pricey wine and payments to girlfriends."  The article is worth reading.  It highlights the importance of having good governance and adequate internal controls in a charity.

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December 04, 2015

CRA Revokes the Registration of Le Refuge des Rescapes for involvement in tax shelter scheme

Today the Canada Revenue Agency announced the revocation of the registration of of the Canadian registered charity Le Refuge des Rescapes for issuing over $2 million in official donation receipts connected with an abusive charity gifting tax scheme. 

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December 03, 2015

Some good new notices on the CRA website that will help donors and charities

I noticed recently a couple of new notices/disclaimers on the CRA website relating to CharityFocus.ca and the credibility of registered charities.

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November 27, 2015

Report by the Mowat Centre: “Change Work: Valuing decent work in the not-for-profit sector”

The Mowat Centre recently released a report with the aim of promoting the discussion of decent work in the NFP sector and encouraging action on NFP workforce development issues. The report is a result of an 18 month collaboration between the Ontario Nonprofit Network, Toronto Neighbourhood Centres and Mowat NFP. 

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November 25, 2015

CRA initiative “Protect yourself against fraud”

It is interesting to see that CRA used to refer to "abusive charity gifting tax schemes" and they appear to be lumping them in with fraud.  "Meet Mary & William. Mary and William are a married couple with kids. They have fallen victim to a donation tax shelter scheme. Find out more about Mary and William’s story and how you can protect yourself against fraud."

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November 25, 2015

Mattachione, V. et. al. v. The Queen (TCC)

The Tax Court of Canada recently released a decision where they dismissed the appeals of former spouses relating to reassessments under the Income Tax Act with respect to their alleged charitable donations made in 2003, 2004 and 2005. 

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November 23, 2015

CRA letter on gifting to a public foundation

CRA recently released a letter which discusses whether a gift of a share of the capital stock of a corporation to a public foundation to which subsection 118.1(5) applies after 2015, would qualify as an 'excepted gift' as defined in subsection 118.1(19) of the Income Tax Act. 

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November 14, 2015

The Paris terrorist attacks are a reminder to Canadian charities to be vigilant

The terrible events recently in Paris remind charities of the importance of ensuring that their resources are not used to support of terrorism.  This applies to charities operating in Canada and also those who operate outside of Canada.  Periodically charities should review the CRA checklist on avoiding terrorist abuse.  There are other resources that charities may wish to review as well.

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November 10, 2015

New E-Mail Address for Filings to Corporations Canada

Corporations Canada has a new email address when filing documents through e-mail.  This is particularly important for CNCA corporations.  The e-mail address has been changed to IC.corporationscanada.IC@canada.ca.  In the meantime, Corporations Canada still receives and accepts filings sent through the old email address corporationscanada@ic.gc.ca, but moving forward, the new email address should be used when filing documents through e-mail to Corporations Canada.

November 02, 2015

What does the 2015 Federal election mean for Canadian charities?

The Conservative loss in the 2015 Federal election and the Liberal majority government will have some impact on the Canadian charity sector.  Here is my article What does the 2015 Federal election mean for Canadian charities

November 02, 2015

Successful appeal by CRA in Canada v. Castro, 2015 FCA 225

We have previously blogged about the decision of the Tax Court of Canada in David, R. et al. v. the Queen (TCC) (here and here). In this decision, the court allowed the appeals of the respondents relating to tax credits that had been previously disallowed by the Minister of National Revenue for gifts the respondents had made to CanAfrica International (CanAfrica), a registered charity, in 2006 (each of the respondents was issued an inflated tax receipt by CanAfrica).  

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November 02, 2015

CRA letter - does a park qualify as a municipal/public body performing a function of government

CRA recently released a letter which discusses whether a park qualifies as a municipal or public body performing a function of government for purposes of 149(1)(c) of the Act and the definition of a qualified donee in subsection 149.1(1).

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November 01, 2015

Ontario Bar Association program “Top Compliance Issues for Canadian Charities” on Nov 9, 2015

On November 9, 2015 I will be presenting a program for the Ontario Bar Association, along with Nevena Urosevic, on Top Compliance Issues for Canadian Charities.  It is available both in-person and by webcast.

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October 26, 2015

GLGI abusive charitable gifting tax scheme slammed in Tax Court of Canada

In the case Mariano v. The Queen 2015 TCC 244 the Honourable Justice F.J. Pizzitelli reviewed in great detail the Global Learning Trust (2004) and the Global Learning Gift Initiative (GLGI) program.  These programs are what CRA calls abusive charity gifting tax schemes.  For those interested in the regulation of charities and the definition of gift this is a must read case.  It discusses gifts and donative intent, fair market value and valuation reports.  Mr. Justice F.J. Pizzitelli goes into great detail and analyzes the various positions, their expert witnesses and the conduct of the promoter's advisors.

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October 18, 2015

Snapshot on Political Activities in the Canadian Charity Sector 2013

We have prepared as part of the Sean Blumberg Transparency Project this Snapshot on Political Activities in the Canadian Charity Sector 2013.

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October 16, 2015

Corporations Canada offering new online services for non-profits under the CNCA

Corporations Canada announced today that it will be offering two new online services for non-profits under the CNCA.  It will now be possible for CNCA corporations to file by-laws and financial statements with Corporations Canada through the Online Filing Centre. 

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October 12, 2015

CPA Ontario’s Not-For-Profit Finance Leadership Day - November 12, 2015

The CPA Ontario's Not-For-Profit Finance Leadership Day will be held on November 12, 2015 in Toronto.

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October 09, 2015

Agenda for the Blumbergs’ Charity Law Institute 2015

October 09, 2015

CRA letters to Trinity Global Support Foundation on reasons for revocation

The Trinity Global Support Foundation was recently revoked.   It received some media attention because of the involvement of the former mayor of London, Ontario in the charity.  Here are the letters from CRA explaining the detailed reasons for revocation of Trinity Global Support Foundation.  We blogged on this charity before at "CRA revokes Trinity Global Support Foundation as a charity" and "FCA case on Trinity Global Support Foundation - CRA wins again"

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October 09, 2015

CRA letters to Canadian Friends of Pearl Children about reasons for revocation

CRA recently revoked the registration of Canadian Friends of Pearl Children.   Here are the CRA letters to the charity.  According to CRA the organization issued over $167 million in inappropriate official donation receipts.  On July 20, 2015 I blogged about the revocation of Canadian Friends of Pearl Children.  

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October 08, 2015

Recent CRA letters of revocation for Canadian registered charities

Here are the CRA letters from a number of recent Canadian registered charity revocations, annulments and penalties.  These letters from CRA cover many different grounds for de-registration or the imposition of penalties.   

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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.

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