The Canadian charity and non-profit sector are an important part of the Canadian economy and have a huge impact on the lives of Canadians. With the registered charity sector (approximately 86,000 organizations) the public has up-to-date and detailed information. Unfortunately, with the 80-100,000 non-profits that are not registered charities (we don't even know how many there are) we have almost no information on the size and scope of that sector and there is little transparency on individual non-profits that are not registered charities.
The Department of Finance has released the 2018 Report on Federal Tax Expenditures. The document is over 300 pages and discusses the financial costs of certain Canadian tax measures including donation tax incentives. These costs are referred to as "tax expenditures". On page 287 there is an extensive discussion of the tax assistance for publicly listed securities or marketable securities under the heading "Evaluation of the Non-Taxation of Capital Gains on Donations of Publicly Listed Securities". Anyone interested in the topic of donating appreciable marketable security to charities will find the discussion interesting.
Here is an article I recently wrote entitled Top Canadian Charity Law Issues for Charity Village. It highlights some of the top compliance issues that a Canadian charity should be concerned with.
There are over 2.5m pages on the Government of Canada's website and only a few thousand deal with registered charities. Here are some tips on finding information on registered charities. However, keep in mind that information and legal advice are two very different matters - if the issue is important and involves potentially large consequences consider obtaining professional legal advice from a lawyer who is very knowledgeable about non-profits and charities and consequently probably spends most of their time practicing in the narrow confines of charity and non-profit law.
Understanding legal compliance for registered charities is not easy but Blumbergs is offering exciting new upcoming events in 2018 that will help.
As you probably know if you are interested in a Federal corporation (non-profit or otherwise) you can easily search the Corporations Canada website. This gives you lots of information on Federal non-profit corporations including the name, Corporation Number, Status, which corporate legislation governs, their registered office address, names and addresses of directors, the minimum and maximum number of directors, the last filing date of a corporation, whether filings are overdue, the history of the corporate names, as well as what corporate documents have been filed like Articles, By-laws, Financial Statements etc. You could always request copies of documents and Corporations Canada was quite efficient in returning them within a day or two. However, now Corporations Canada has made it even easier for you by making many of the listed documents available instantly.
We are adding some exciting new functionality with CharityData.ca First, it is easy to see what gifts a Canadian registered charity gives to another Canadian registered charity on the CRA website. But what if you want to know which charities gave funds to a particular charity? Now you can do this on CharityData.ca by looking under the "Fundraising" tab. Second, we are going to be updating the data used on the site to include all 2016 data and some 2017 data. Third, we have added a number of new ways to search or sort all charities on the "Advanced Charity Search Page" Page. There are now about 30 ways to filter or search. Here is some more information on Charitydata.ca:
Blumbergs has created the largest Canadian registered charity information portal at www.charitydata.ca with up to 13 years information on every Canadian registered charity. We have just added additional ways to sort data at www.charitydata.ca. You can search by name, BN, Program, Charity Type, Revenue, Province and City.
Statistics Canada has reported that "Total donations reported by Canadian tax filers fell to $8.9 billion in 2016, down 2.7% from 2015." The Statscan numbers only claims by individuals tax filers and not what was actually donated to charity by individuals, corporations, etc. which in 2016 was $16.5 Billion.
Over the last 10 or more years, we have published over 2500 blog posts. Except for a few avid readers, that might be a little overwhelming so we have started to create a directory of some of the top resources for Canadian charities. This will be particularly helpful for those who are new to registered charity compliance issues or to the charity sector.
CRA has just released the 2018 T3010 Registered Charity Information Return. The T3010 is a form that Canadian registered charities need to file each year within six months of their fiscal year-end. Failure to file the return can quickly result in revocation.
On November 20, 2017 I am presenting to the AFP GTA Congress 2017 a breakout session "T3010 and Transparency in the Charitable Sector".
CRA has provided information through ATIP on third-party civil penalties from 2009 to 2016. The number of completed third-party penalty audits where it was determined that the penalty would be applied is 67. The amount of the penalties was about $164 million. Here is the disclosure.
Mark Blumberg will be delivering two upcoming Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario (CPA Ontario) charity programs: Charity Fundraising and Receipting Rules - A Primer for Accountants and T3010 and Transparency in the Charitable Sector.
CRA has recently announced that starting in late 2018, registered charities will be able to file their annual Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return online through the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Business Account (MyBA). Currently the T3010 form must be printed and then mailed into CRA, so we hope that the online filing option will make the annual filing process easier for Canadian registered charities.
The Canadian Charity Law Association (CCLA) is pleased to present: Charities, Regulation and Donors - some international perspectives on June 22, 2017 at 8:30AM in Toronto. The 1/2 day program will cover 4 thought provoking topics (see bios below) and have two excellent international guests. The room can only hold 33 people so if you are interested book quickly.
In this article Some of the Canadian charities that spend the most on political activities? I have not only listed some of the Canadian charities that spent the most on political activities but also showed readers how they can find and sort the information themselves. There is more to charities than just political activities and you can do your own searches depending on what information you need.
Here is an article entitled Total revenue received from all sources outside Canada by Canadian Registered Charities in 2015 which lists the Canadian charities that received the largest contributions from outside of Canada.
The CRA has announced that it will make automated calls to Canadian registered charities to remind them to file their T3010 Registered Charity Information Return. That is a positive step in using technology to remind charities of their filing obligations.
We have just released our Blumbergs' Canadian Charity Sector Snapshot 2015. Lots of interesting statistics and information on the Canadian charity sector. As well if you want information on individual charities or want to sort charities based on about 20 criteria checkout our charity data site at www.charitydata.ca.
The Ontario Hospital Association is having a conference entitled "Strengthening Foundation Governance: Current Issues, Challenges and Solutions". I will be presenting on Charitable Giving, Transparency and Standards. There will be a number of other interesting presentations.
This recent article in The Guardian entitled Charity regulator to crack down on political advocacy after complaints discusses how the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has cracked down on certain political activities by charities in Australia and how the ACNC is asking for less secrecy and more transparency in dealing with charity compliance issues.
Do you require legal advice with respect to Canadian or Ontario non-profits or charities?
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.