Blog

December 11, 2008

CRA improves functionality for search of Canadian registered charities database

The Charities Directorate has vastly improved its section of the CRA website over the last year, although it still has a way to go!.  In the past they have improved the quality and accessibility of information placed on the site.  CRA has recently improved the ability of Canadians to search their database of charities as we discuss in more detail.  If you have not viewed the Charity Directorates website recently it is well worth visiting.

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December 07, 2008

Blumbergs Canadian Charity Law List - December 2008 - overhead, T3010b, conduit, private foundations

Here is the December edition of the Blumbergs Canadian charity law e-mail list.  If you wish to receive a copy of the Blumbergs Canadian Charity Law List then please sign up at the Blumbergs’ Newsletter Page.  It takes about 10 seconds and it is free.  The Blumbergs Canadian Charity Law List is sent every month or two and it has the latest information for Canadian non-profits and charities on legal and ethical issues. Comments are always appreciated.

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November 30, 2008

CRA Warning to charities: no lending of charitable registration numbers

November 23, 2008

Is Social Enterprise or Community Economic Development considered charitable under Canadian law?

This entry discusses whether social enterprise, social innovation, social financing or community economic development (CED) is charitable.

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November 21, 2008

Complaints about Registered Canadian Charities

Charities do a lot of great work.  But with over 85,000 of them, and a few hundred bad apples amongst the lot, there will be times that you will be disappointed in a charity.  When you have a concern about a charity or a charity does something wrong here are some ideas about how you can complain.

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November 05, 2008

Global Philanthropy: Canadian Charities and Foreign Activities -Estate Planning Council of Toronto

Here is a copy of my presentation Global Philanthropy: Canadians and Canadian Charities and Foreign Activities that I delivered to the Estate Planning Council of Toronto.

November 04, 2008

CRA Revokes Choson Kallah Fund of Toronto as tax shelter donation arrangement

The problem of abusive charitable tax shelters using the developing world as a marketing tool continues.  It just goes to show the importance of dealing with credible and legitimate charities if you want to make the world a better place.

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November 01, 2008

New CRA Application for Registered Charity Status (T2050) and Guide (T4063) in December 2008

November 01, 2008

CRA Reminds Canadian charities of 2009 disbursement quota changes

The CRA has reminded charitable organizations (not foundations) that these charitable organizations will beginning in 2009 have to in addition to other disbursement quota requirements need to spend 3.5% of the value of all of their property the charity has that is not used directly in charitable activities or administration.

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October 25, 2008

Good Works by Canadians Outside the Registered Charity Realm

October 25, 2008

What is the Charitable Goods Policy of CRA and What is its Impact?

This brief article discusses the Charitable Goods Policy of the Canada Revenue Agency.

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October 25, 2008

Are there limits on how much foreign activities a Canadian charity can conduct?

October 25, 2008

FAQ - Are there Residency Requirements for the Directors of a Canadian Charity?

This FAQ looks at whether there are residency requirements for Canadian charities.

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September 15, 2008

How Much Should A Canadian Charity Spend on Overhead such as Fundraising and Administration?

Here is my updated article on “How Much Should A Canadian Charity Spend on Overhead

This note discusses why low overhead may not be a good thing for a charity and what is appropriate.

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September 07, 2008

Canadian Federal Election - Canadian charities must avoid partisan political activity

Canadian registered charities need to scrupulously avoid involvement with partisan political activity.  In this brief note we cover CRA policy statement CPS-022 on political activity by charities and CRA’s Advisory on Partisan Political Activities. It is really important for Canadian charities to understand the policy statement and advisory for two reasons: 1) failure to do so can result in a charity losing its charitable status; and 2) many charities can in fact do more allowable political activities than they currently do but they misunderstand CRA’s views on this important topic and they think that CRA disapproves of all “political” activity, which is clearly not the case. Full Article in PDF

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September 06, 2008

Fundraising and Grantmaking from Canada - Legal Issues

Here is a copy of a powerpoint presentation Blumbergs recently delivered to a US 501(c)(3) on Fundraising and Grantmaking from Canada

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July 02, 2008

Redeemer Foundation v. M.N.R. (F.C.A.)- Federal Court agrees with CRA on audit powers with charities

This case dealt with whether the Charities Directorate of CRA requires judicial authorization to request certain information from a registered charity and CRA won the appeal.  The CRA note headnote/summary is below.

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June 18, 2008

Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (NFPC) - New Act if passed will affect Canadian charities

It looks like Industry Canada will be making a second attempt to pass a new federal non-profits act to replace the Canada Corporations Act.  It will be called the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (NFPC).

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May 29, 2008

Applicants for Charitable Status in Canada with foreign activities need to provide detailed info

The Canada Revenue Agency has recently been sending out a new form letter to some applicants for charitable registration which appear to have foreign activities requesting they provide greater detail in terms of the foreign activities.  Here is a copy of a sample letter from CRA.  The letter is worth reading and I would emphasize the importance of providing sufficient detail of the proposed foreign activity as well as a draft agreement for any structured arrangements.

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May 14, 2008

Bequests in Wills In Canada - Avoiding Legal and Ethical Problems When Supporting Good Causes

April 14, 2008

Banyan Tree Foundation, law firm Fraser Milner Casgrain sued for $55m in class action lawsuit

The law firm of Scarfone Hawkins LLP in Hamilton has recently brought a class action lawsuit against a number of parties for their involvement with the Banyan Tree Foundation including the law firm of Fraser Milner Casgrain.  It will be interesting to see how this case turns out.  I predict that there will be other cases against other law firms that have been involved with preparing opinion letters for transactions that CRA considers to be “shams”.  The allegations in the statement of claim have yet to be proved in court.

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April 03, 2008

Has the regulation of Canadian charities operating outside of Canada become increasingly burdensome?

I often read commentators talking about the ‘increased burden’ placed by Canada Revenue Agency on Canadian charities operating abroad or the ‘increasingly complicated’ administrative rules.  I then scratch my head and wonder what increased burden and what increased rules?  The CRA has not modified RC4106 since 2000 (almost 8 years)  and since the publication of that document the CRA has in fact provided greater leeway to registered Canadian charities in operating abroad for example charities that are umbrella organizations.  The CRA has also provided clarifications in newsletters on various issues that they have been asked about.  The CRA has also made far greater efforts to educate charities about compliance issues for Canadian charities operating abroad including through a recent educational partnership with certain charities.

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April 01, 2008

Fundraising Policy for Canadian Registered Charities by CRA

Here is my article which discusses the Consultation on Proposed Policy on Fundraising by Canadian Registered Charities (RC4456-e).


Here is a link to http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tax/charities/consultations/fundraising-e.html which is the CRA’s “Consultation on proposed policy on fundraising by Registered Charities.”  This is a 6 page document and apparently there will be another document forthcoming that is about 40 pages in length that will add to the overview document.

Here is a copy of a presentation on April 1, 2008 by Neil Cochrane and Peter Broder of the Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency to the Ontario Bar Association entitled CRA Fundraising Policy Overview

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March 30, 2008

Donations by Canadians to Prescribed Universities Outside Canada (Schedule VIII) Rc191-07

CRA has prepared two publications namely Donations by Canadians to Prescribed Universities Outside Canada (RC191-07) and Information for Educational Institutions Outside Canada (RC190-07).  These recent publications will be of interest to foreign universities interested in fundraising in Canada and Canadian students studying at certain prescribed foreign universities.

Essentially Canadian individuals and trusts may in certain cases claim a non-refundable tax credit when they donate to certain “prescribed” universities outside Canada.  As well corporations may be able to deduct a donation to these “prescribed” universities.  The list of prescribed universities is located in Schedule VIII of the Canadian Income Tax Regulations under the Canadian Income Tax Act.

Links to the documents at the CRA website are Donations by Canadians to Prescribed Universities Outside Canada (RC191-07) and Information for Educational Institutions Outside Canada (RC190-07).

March 22, 2008

Interesting notes on Equitable Relationships between North/South Civil Society Organizations

Every year the Canadian Council for International Co-operation hosts a discussion forum and this year it was on the Paris Declaration and aid effectiveness.  There are some interesting notes on equitable North/South CSO relations at http://ccic.ca/e/docs/002_aid_2008-02_roundtable_6.pdf   As well Brian Tomlinson of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation delivered a speech a few month ago entitled “North / South CSO relations - A Northern Perspective” at http://ccic.ca/e/docs/002_aid_2007-08_harnosand_speech.pdf

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
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