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.
The Canada Without Poverty v. Attorney General of Canada decision was released on July 16th. Here is the decision. I have written extensively about the importance of having Canadian charities engage in some political activities and how the rules can work for the charity sector and here is our directory on charities and political activities.
Here is a letter from CRA discussing when an official donation receipt can be issued for a gift from an estate and how the 2016 changes affect this. Here is the text of the letter:
There are certain rules in the Income Tax Act that only apply to private foundations and not charitable organizations and public foundations. These rules are called the 'excess business holdings' regime or 'excess corporate holdings' regime. They limit the amount of shares or interests a Canadian private foundation can have, or that the private foundation plus other relevant persons may have. CRA in a recent letter discusses whether the excess business holdings rules apply when the private foundation will receive the shares as a residue of an alter ego trust. In general, a private foundation plus certain "relevant persons" if they own more than 20% of a share class then the private foundation will have an obligation to divest itself of the shares in excess of 20%. How quickly they will have to divest will depend on how the shares were acquired. There are also certain disclosure obligations if a private foundation owns more than 2% of a share class. Here is the CRA letter dealing with excess business holdings and private foundations:
The Canadian Charity Law Association is delivering some upcoming webinars. Registration is free but space is limited. Topics are subject to change.
Canadian registered charities often have to provide assistance to people in disasters. Does an individual or business have to include this amount in their income? CRA recently released a letter discussing this issue.
Corporations Canada is looking at changing their fees in relation to the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (CNCA) as well as some other acts. Some of the most common fees like filing the annual return will be reduced and others will be increased significantly. Some fees will be eliminated completely. Here is the full proposal for consultation. In general it is a fair proposal - encouraging people to move to electronic, making some most commonly done transactions cheaper and reflecting the real cost of certain other transactions.