What's New from the Charities Directorate of CRA

February 11, 2010

CRA modifies page on disbursement quota calculation -useful page for understanding DQ for charities

If you are trying to understand the disbursement quota for Canadian charities then you may find this CRA page on the disbursement quota calculation helpful.  Here is the link http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/prtng/spndng/clclb-eng.html

February 06, 2010

Webinar: Haiti - Legal and Ethical Issues for Canadian charities responding to the earthquake

[the archived recording of the webinar Haiti - Legal and Ethical Issues for Canadian charities is now available at https://ocsa.webex.com/ocsa/lsr.php?AT=pb&SP=TC&rID=619547&rKey=680663606ebf9a91&act=pb (It is approx 1h and 10 min)]  We are also beta testing some other webinars at: http://www.globalphilanthropy.ca/index.php/blog/comments/webinars_on_canadian_charity_law_-_charity_law_information_program_clip_by_/

OCIC, myself and Capacity Builders will be organizing a free one hour webinar entitled “Haiti - Legal and Ethical Issues for Canadian charities responding to the earthquake”  As we are all aware with the earthquake in Haiti, Canadians have responded quickly and donated generously.  Canadian charities have received record contributions to help with the disaster in Haiti.  Many of the charities raising funds for Haiti have never operated in Haiti and/or been involved in disaster assistance. We have learned from past disaster responses in post-conflict areas that good intentions and money are not enough.  Join charity lawyer Mark Blumberg (editor of www.globalphilanthropy.ca) as he highlights some of the top legal and ethical challenges facing Canadian registered charities operating in Haiti.  From Income Tax Act rules to ethical dilemmas it is important that charities are aware of these and other issues.  For all Capacity Builder Webinars you can see https://ocsa.webex.com/mw0306l/mywebex/default.do?siteurl=ocsa

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January 27, 2010

CRA reminder about gifts from one registered charity to another - no receipt issued

Here is a reminder from the Charities Directorate of CRA that one registered charity should not issue an official donation receipt to another registered charity.  So for example if a foundation gives another registered charity funds the recipient charity does not provide an official donation receipt.

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January 25, 2010

Being Good at Doing Good:  Safeguarding Yourself and your Charity in a Complex World - Toronto

Here is the schedule for Being Good at Doing Good:  Safeguarding Yourself and your Charity in a Complex World.  There is an amazing line up of speakers. CLIP_Conference_Schedule.pdf    Check out the topics and speakers and register while you can at http://www.capacitybuilders.ca/clip/conference/index.php for the early bird rate for this CLIP conference.  Here is a flyer if you want to circulate to your charities, their boards, volunteers and staff.  Flyer for Being Good at Doing Good

January 25, 2010

CRA, Public Guardian and Trustee and UK Charity Commission to speak in Toronto in February

For information on the conference see: http://www.capacitybuilders.ca/clip/conference/index.php The conference is sponsored by the Canada Revenue Agency and I am helping Capacity Builders organize this charity conference.

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January 19, 2010

CRA to work weekends to help public with Haiti relief

To help with Haiti Relief the Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency will temporarily be working on weekends “Note: As a temporary measure, the Charities Directorate is providing additional telephone service for donors and charities who want information about donations toward earthquake relief in Haiti. The telephone service is now extended to weekends, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time.”  This is an excellent idea and will be helpful to many Canadians.  http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/whtsnw/tms/rthqk-haiti-eng.html

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January 16, 2010

Donating to Haitian Earthquake Relief - beware of charity scams taking advantage of the situation

Here is a CBC article on how scammers and cyber criminals are trying to exploit the generosity of people. Save yourself the disappointment and embarrassment and if you are interested in helping people in Haiti donate to an experienced Canadian aid organization that has operations in Haiti such as the members of the Humanitarian Coalition (http://www.thehumanitariancoalition.ca/)  or Doctors Without Borders Canada (http://www.msf.ca/)

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January 15, 2010

CIDA’s Key Facts about the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund -are your charity’s donations being matched

Here is some information from CIDA with respect to their Haiti donation matching program

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January 13, 2010

CRA puts out two releases related to Haiti Earthquake - be an informed donor

One release is a caution encouraging Canadians to be an informed donor and see part of the CRA website on being an informed donor.  The other is a reminder that in a disaster the urge by some to set up a new organization may not be the best course of action may be to donate or help “existing qualified donees (e.g., other registered charities) that have the experience, resources, and infrastructures already in place to respond rapidly and effectively in such locations.”  http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/whtsnw/tms/rthqk-haiti-eng.html I very much agree with such advice.

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January 07, 2010

The secret location of the old T3010A form!

As of 2009 Canadian charities need to file the T3010B form for year ends after January 1, 2009.  For almost all charities they have no more use for the T3010A.  CRA has removed the old T3010A form because so many charities were mistakenly filing the t3010A when in fact they should be filing the T3010B Anyway there are reasons that one may want to look at a T3010A including if you are making application for reregistration and you are required to complete the T3010A or you are wondering about the CRA database and what number aligns with what question.  Anyway CRA has done a good job hiding the form to keep it away from you those who might mistakenly use it.  Here is a copy of the T3010A if you require http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/formspubs/prioryear/t3010a/README.html

December 20, 2009

Preventing fraud in Canadian Not for Profit Organizations

Here is an interesting booklet from the CSAE and RBC on Preventing_fraud_in_Not_for_Profit_Organizations.pdf

December 02, 2009

First Nations Groups and qualified donee status

In Registered Charities Newsletter No. 24 Summer 2005 the CRA discusses the status of certain First Nations groups as qualified donees.  The qualified donee status is important as organizations that are qualified donees can issue “official donation receipts”.  If you have questions about whether your First Nations group is a qualified donee you can call the Charities Directorate of the CRA.

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December 01, 2009

When should a Canadian charity not issue a “official donation receipt” (tax receipt)?

I am often asked “When should a Canadian charity not issue a “official donation receipt” (tax receipt)?”  First of all Canadian charities do not have to issue tax receipts - however, if they are going to issue official donation receipts, commonly known as tax receipts, then the registered charity must ensure that it is only issuing the receipt for a “gift” and subtracting any “advantage” that the donor may receive. If in doubt call CRA or contact a charity lawyer.  Here is a list of transactions that generally do not result in a tax receipt being issued.

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November 29, 2009

CRA’s Guidance Fundraising by Registered Charities - Amalgamated into One Document

CRA’s Guidance “Fundraising by Registered Charities” is in two separate documents namely the main guidance at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/plcy/cps/cps-028-eng.html and http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/plcy/cps/cps-028-ddn-eng.html (entitled Additional information on Guidance CPS-028, Fundraising by Registered Charities). These documents are hyperlinked together and you can go back and forth between the documents to obtain all the information.  For those who find it more convenient CLIP has combined the two documents in this one document and inserted the content of the “Additional Information” directly next to the part of the the Guidance it is referring to. A reader can using this document read the guidance from beginning to end. As well it is in PDF format to make it easier for some to download to a laptop and review when they have time or to place comments or mark up. We have also increased the font size to make it easier for some to read.CRA’s_Guidance_Fundraising_by_Registered_Charities.pdf

November 01, 2009

What role do the provinces play in regulation of charities in Canada?

August 01, 2009

CRA releases fillable T2050 Application to Register a Charity Under the Income Tax Act

The Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency just released a fillable T2050 Application for charitable status which will make it easier for organizations to complete the form and presumably make it more legible.  You can obtain a copy of the form.   Although the form may look simple, and is now easier to fill in, it is actually a form covering many different areas of charitable law and it is often a good idea to get some legal advice and assistance with incorporation and applying for charitable status.

June 01, 2009

CRA Charity Checklist on Terrorism

Here is a “Checklist for Charities on Avoiding Terrorist Abuse” put out by the Charity Directorate of Canada Revenue Agency.  It is a concise and helpful tool for charities to use to ensure that their resources are not misused by those who support or are involved with terrorism.  Many charities tell me that terrorism is not an issue for them - in fact the precautions suggested in this checklist are just as important for charities to understand and impliment to avoid money laundering, tax evasion, and general missappropriation of resources for non-charitable purposes.  Terrorism is local as well as international.  (for example the FLQ and the Oklahoma City bombing).  http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/chcklsts/vtb-eng.html

May 28, 2009

CRA Releases Registered Charity Newsletter 32 - discusses new applications, T3010B, webinars,

Here is the latest CRA Registered Charity Newsletter # 32.  It includes an extensive discussion on applications for charity status and how to improve your application and avoid unnecessary delays.  It sets out the procedures that CRA will follow upon receiving a charity application.

April 28, 2009

Draft Consultation on Proposed Guidance on Advancement of Religion as a Charitable Purpose

Here is a copy of a draft paper delivered by Terry de March, Director General of the Charities Directorate, at a conference in Australia.  At some point in the future CRA may have a consultation on this topic and the document may or may not be similar to this draft.  Here is the Draft Consulation on Proposed Guidance on Advancement of Religion as a Charitable Purpose from the Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency

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February 01, 2009

Political Activities and Canadian Charities -Some CRA Policies and letters on political activities

Most of CRA’s view on political activities by Canadian charities can be found in Policy Statement CPS-022 Political Activities. (see Political Activities (CPS - 022) located at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/plcy/cps/cps-022-eng.html   I highly recommend that any charity considering conducting any activity that could be construed as political, review in detail the CPS-022 Policy Statement on Political Activities.

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December 16, 2008

New CRA Application for Registered Charity Status (T2050) and Guide (T4063)  finally arrived

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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January 31, 2008

CRA’s 10 reasons why an application for Canadian charitable status will not be successful

The CRA recently posted their top ten list of why applications for charitable status will not be successful.  It was placed in a Consultation document entitled “Charitable Work and Ethnocultural Groups - Information on registering as a charity “.  As an aside the last time I saw a study on the difference between applications for charitable status that were accepted by CRA and those that were rejected the most important factor correlating with acceptance was use of a lawyer.  Although one does not need to use a lawyer, the process is anything but straightforward.  If one is going to use a lawyer it is important to use a lawyer who is knowledgeable about charity law and especially important if you plan on conducting activities outside of Canada that the lawyer be familiar with CRA requirements for Canadian charities operating abroad.  Just one little example they cite for denying an application “The application does not include any copy of an agreement with representatives who are supposed to help the organization to carry out its activities outside Canada.”  CRA expects when one files an application that references foreign activities to be carried out under a structured arrangement (agency, joint venture, cooperative partnership, contractor) that in fact the agreement be attached.  This comes as a surprise to some including experienced practitioners.  Also they don’t mean some nice looking agreement - they mean an agreement that complies with ALL the requirements in RC4106.  Some may see this as harsh - however, if an organization takes shortcuts and does not have the resources and advisors to put in an appropriate application for charitable status it is not difficult to imagine that some of those same people may take shortcuts later when the charity is operating.

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November 29, 2007

CRA Issues Notice of Suspension to International Charity Association Network

November 27, 2007

Resources and Links for Canadian Charities conducting Foreign Activities

Here are some handy resources and links for Canadian Charities conducting activities outside of Canada. 

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


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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