At the 2015 APFF conference roundtable, CRA responded to several questions regarding the charitable registration process:
Question 1) Is there a different process depending on whether the entity requesting registration is a charitable organization or foundation?
CRA indicated that the registration process is the same whether you are applying to be a charitable organization or a foundation. The entity must be able to demonstrate that it qualifies as a charity and have evidence to show how it qualifies.
Question 2) Is there a different process depending on the legal structure chosen by the entity applying for registration?
CRA indicated that the registration process is the same regardless of the legal structure of the entity.
Question 3) What are the conditions for improving the registration deadlines?
CRA suggested that entities wishing to obtain charitable status should visit www.arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/pplyng/menu-fra.html for more information and helpful tips on applying for registered charity status. Also, CRA pointed to http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/pplyng/pprp-eng.html ‘Avoiding Delays’ which provides helpful tips on the types of information that should be included in an application to help to avoid further delays in the review process.
Question 4) Is there a fast track less known more taxpayers to facilitate the registration process and how does it work?”
CRA indicated that there is no fast track process for getting an application registered as a charity and indicated that requests are generally processed in the order in which they are received. However, CRA’s target is to respond to simple applications (applications where all of the information is provided) within a two month period and when more information is required for the application, CRA’s target is to respond within six months.
While CRA has indicated that there is no fast track process to get your charity registered, we have found with our charity application submissions that with simple foundations that are planning to make gifts to other qualified donees, CRA tends to process these applications much more quickly than those applications where an entity intends on conducting its own activities, foreign activities, etc. In general it is a good idea to submit a comprehensive application to CRA and ensure that the application is not missing any of the required information which ensures there will not be any delays in the review process, but as CRA indicated does not necessarily guarantee a quicker review process.
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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.