September 17, 2015

Very disappointing news from Ontario government on ONCA today

As many know the Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) was passed in 2010 and was supposed to be brought in by January 2013.  There are ostensibly 59,000 Ontario non-profits, although many may be dormant.  The Ontario government announced today "The government is fully committed to bringing ONCA into force at the earliest opportunity and will provide the sector with at least 24 months’ notice before proclamation".  This probably means that ONCA will not come into force until probably 2018 or later.  This will be very disappointing for non-profits under the Ontario Corporations Act who will have waited over 8 years for the change.          

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September 14, 2015

Humber Fundraising Management Course “Ethical and Legal Issues”

Mark Blumberg will be team teaching, with Valerie Campbell and Sharilyn Hale, the Humber Fundraising Management Course "Ethical and Legal Issues".  It was previously taught by Ken Wyman so we will have big shoes to fill.    

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September 13, 2015

Presentation on top compliance issues to CPA Ontario’s Practitioners Conference - Sept. 18 2015

I am looking forward to delivering a 2 hour presentation on the topic of Top Compliance Issues for Registered Charities, their Directors and their Accountants to the CPA Ontario's Practitioners Conference on September 18, 2015.

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September 12, 2015

Another class action lawsuit launched for inflated receipts as part of tax shelter -Ideas Canada Fdn

A class action lawsuit was commenced on August 18, 2015 in Vancouver against numerous parties involved with a tax shelter scheme related to the Ideas Canada Foundation for the taxation years 2001, 2002 and 2003.   Those who invested in those schemes are upset that CRA did not accept the tax receipts and the "investors" lost their tax savings and/or out of pocket expenditures.  There are 8 defendants in the matter.

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September 09, 2015

SC in British Columbia upholds affiliation agreement in Habitat for Humanity Canada decision

In July, the B.C. Supreme Court, in the decision of Habitat for Humanity Canada v Hearts and Hands for Homes Society, upheld a claim for specific performance of a clause within an affiliation agreement between two charitable organizations.

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August 27, 2015

Election 2015 and Canadian charities - article for Hilborn

I recently wrote an article "Election 2015 and Canadian charities" for Hilborn.   Charities that are involved in political activities may find it helpful. 

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August 26, 2015

Finance releases consultation on draft legislative proposals for Budget 2015 charity provisions

The Department of Finance in late July released for consultation purposes draft legislative proposals that will have an impact on charities.   The 2 main changes are an "exemption from capital gains tax for certain dispositions involving private corporation shares or real estate where the cash proceeds are donated to a registered charity within 30 days" and "providing rules to enable registered charities to acquire or hold interests in limited partnerships in certain circumstances."

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August 26, 2015

Cathy Hawara’s comments on CHAMP and efiling for Canadian charities T3010 and T2050

For the 86,000 Canadian registered charities who file their T3010 Registered Charity Information Return every year and the 4500 or so organizations that apply for registered charity status every year, the introduction over the next few years of electronic filing is exciting news.   Here are excerpts from the comments by Cathy Hawara, Director General of the Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency, on these two e-filing initiatives in a May 2015 speech.   

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August 26, 2015

Cathy Hawara’s comments on outreach by CRA to the charity sector in a May 2015 speech

Communication or outreach by the Charities Directorate to the charity sector is vital to ensure that charities understand their compliance obligations and are assisted in complying with those obligations.  Here are excerpts from the comments by Cathy Hawara, Director General of the Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency, on outreach by the Charities Directorate in a May 2015 speech.   

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August 22, 2015

CRA posts “Advisory on partisan political activities” as the 2015 Federal election continues

The CRA has posted an "Advisory on partisan political activities" as a reminder to Canadian registered charities that they must avoid all partisan political activities, although they are allowed to conduct certain political activities related to their objects and within in certain resource limitations.

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August 19, 2015

Glover v. The Queen - court rejects gifting arrangement donation receipt

In Glover v. The Queen, the Tax Court dealt with a donation of software under a gifting arrangement and whether there was donative intent.  The TCC found there was no donative intent and then sided with CRA that the taxpayer cannot claim a tax deduction.  It has taken 12 years from the "donation" for the Tax Court to deal with the case - not sure if this is because the court is completely overloaded or as a result of delay tactics.  The case dealt with the Charitable Technology Trust Gifting Program.  

August 19, 2015

Mapish v. The Queen - another Revival Time donation is rejected

In the Tax Court of Canada case of Mapish v. The Queen, Mr. Mapish maintains that he made charitable donations to a charity called Revival Time Ministries International.     CRA reassessed Mr. Mapish and denied his tax credits for $9,600 in 2007 and $11,600 in 2008. The TCC upheld the CRA decision.

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August 19, 2015

Humane Society of Canada v. Canada (National Revenue) - FCA dismisses charity appeal

In the case of Humane Society of Canada for the Protection of Animals and the Environment, the Federal Court of Appeal dealt with a case in which the CRA had issued a notice of intent to revoke the status of the charity, and the charity appealed to the Appeals Directorate of CRA which confirmed the original notice. The charity appealed further to the Federal Court of Appeal which unanimously dismissed the appeal with costs and upheld the Confirmation Decision to revoke the charity.  The CRA's concern with the charity is that it was "providing some of its income for the personal benefit of one of its members (paragraph 168(1)(b)), failing to devote all of its resources to its charitable activities (paragraph 168(1)(b)) and failing to keep appropriate books and records (paragraph 230(2)(a))."  

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August 02, 2015

Canadian Charities and Political Activities: Keeping room temperature in a chilly environment

August 02, 2015

Cathy Hawara’s comments on political activities and compliance in a May 2015 speech

Political activities and charities has been a hot button issue over the last few years.  With Prime Minister Harper launching the 2015 election today it is important for Canadian charities to be aware of their legal obligations and to comply with them. Here are excerpts from the comments by Cathy Hawara, Director General of the Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency, on political activities and compliance in a May 2015 speech that CRA released on Friday.    

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August 02, 2015

Cathy Hawara’s comments on late filing of the T3010 in a May 2015 speech

Registered Charities every year must file the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return.  It is supposed to be filed within 6 months of the fiscal year end for each charity.  Here are excerpts from the comments by Cathy Hawara, Director General of the Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency, Canadian charities and late filing of their T3010 in a May 2015 speech.   

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July 31, 2015

Guindon v. Canada - SCC upholds third party civil penalties under the ITA

In the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision Guindon v. Canada - 2015 SCC 41 the SCC has upheld the third party civil penalties provided under the Income Tax Act.

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July 30, 2015

Public Television Assoc. of Quebec v. CRA - confirms CRA guidance and direction and control rules

In a recent decision of the Federal Court of Appeal Public Television Association of Quebec v. Canada (National Revenue), 2015 FCA 170 the court dealt with funding by a Canadian registered charity of a US charity.  There have been 3 earlier cases dealing with foreign activities and direction and control and this case confirmed the same rules and CRA's important guidance on the subject.  The FCA upheld the revocation of the PTAQ because it was acting as a conduit and making gifts to a non-qualified donee.  There is a good discussion of what is a conduit and how this particular fact situation is a conduit. 

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July 26, 2015

RCAAA Transparency Project

As part of the Sean Blumberg Transparency Project we have requested from the CRA copies of the Registered Canadian amateur athletic associations (RCAAAs) T2052 and financial statements for each of the RCAAAs.  None of this information is provided on the CRA website or anywhere else unless an individual RCAAA puts it up on their website.  For a full list of RCAAAs see CRA's website.  We will be adding additional RCAAAs in the next few weeks.

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Topics: Transparency

July 24, 2015

CRA letter on Chief’s Council qualifying as a public body performing a function of government

CRA recently released a letter which discusses whether a Chief's Council, relating to several First Nations, would be considered a public body performing a function of government for purposes of para. 149(1)(c) of the Act such that it would be able to issue donation receipts as a qualified donee. 

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July 22, 2015

New CRA webpages on political audits and the general audit process

July 20, 2015

CRA revokes the registration of the Canadian Friends of Pearl Children

The CRA has revoked the Canadian Friends of Pearl Children for involvement with what CRA would term an abusive charity gifting tax scheme.  

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July 18, 2015

Countering the Terrorist Threat In Canada: Interim Report from the Canadian Senate

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence has released a report entitled Countering the Terrorist Threat In Canada.  The report provides 25 recommendations.  Some of the recommendations are common sense and others are controversial or questionable.  I was a little upset with the report but perhaps that was because I was taking it too seriously.   As one blogger noted "Keep in mind that the Canadian Senate churns out masses of reports that they have no power to implement. In my opinion many are just make-work projects to show that the senate does actually have a valid function, a point much debated in Canada at the moment."  

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July 17, 2015

Tax Court of Canada dismisses appeal in Duggan v. The Queen, 2015 TCC 175 (CanLII)

In Duggan v. The Queen, 2015 TCC 175 (CanLII), the appellant appealed the Minister's previous assessments which denied charitable credits that the appellant claimed in their 2007 and 2008 taxation years, with respect to charitable donations that were allegedly made. 

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July 08, 2015

McNally v. Canada (National Revenue) - can CRA delay notice of assessment when donation scheme?

Here is an interesting Federal Court case McNally v. Canada (National Revenue) 2015 FC 767 dealing with a delay by CRA in issuing a notice of assessment when a taxpayer has participated in what CRA would an abusive charity gifting tax scheme.  Apparently the case is being appealed to the FCA.  

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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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