Topics: What's New from the Charities Directorate of CRA, Canadian Charity Law, Political Activities and Canadian charities, Transparency
We have uploaded a copy of the "secret" CRA Ministerial Transition Briefing Binder provided to the new Minister of Revenue Diane Lebouthillier in November 2015. It was obtained pursuant to access to information. It covers the mundane matters such as roles and responsibilities and an introduction/overview to the CRA and goes on to discuss top issues that the CRA has to deal with including the "tax gap", FACTA, BC and Ontario housing market, charities and political activities, international collaboration on tax avoidance etc. The document as a whole provides a good civics lesson and context from the CRA perspective as to the role and responsibilities the CRA which is an important agency within the Federal government. It is searchable if you are looking for something in particular. Over the next couple of months I will try to release every Saturday another CRA document on our website.
A few snippets:
1. "The Appeals Branch receives 60,000 to 70,000 income tax and GST HST objections a year. The objections vary from the less complex issues, such as individual tax credits, to the CRA's largest and most complex files such as international transfer pricing and the General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR). In recent years, the CRA received a significant increase in objections relating to tax schemes such as gifting tax shelters, withdrawal of funds from registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs), tax protestor groups 24(1) etc. There are currently more than 117,000 of such objections in inventory - about 110,000 are related to gifting tax shelters." My math skills are not great (hence I am a lawyer and not an accountant) but that means over 94% of the objections relate to abusive charity gifting tax shelters.
2. In part 3, page 51 CRA discusses Rules for Charities Related to Political Activities
3. "Certain powers of a more sensitive nature are not delegated and are exercised personally by the Minister, such as the issuance of security certificates under the Charities Registration (Security Information) Act which revoke or deny registration of charities involved in supporting terrorism." Interesting choice of example as I understand that it has never been used. Are there any sensitive powers that the minister has that have been used!
Here is the CRA Ministerial Transition Briefing Binder which we have broken up into 3 parts because of its size (72 MB) into 3 parts. It may take a little bit of time to load.
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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.