The CRA announced today a number of different matters including "The Government is providing up to $5.3 million in new funding over the 2018–2019 to 2023–2024 period for the CRA to enhance sector outreach and education. This will include reinstating in-person information sessions and introducing videoconference information sessions for charities across Canada." It is so well hidden in the press release I barely noticed it!
I think that this is a big deal. I have been pushing for many years, as have a number of organizations, for the reinstatement of more CRA in-person educational programs such as the "Road Shows" that were canceled in the past. While webinars are nice - they don't substitute for full day educational sessions with back and forth questions and discussions.
In the past CRA has spent far too much of its time writing guidances in "grade 19" language - appreciated by tax litigators but confusing and of limited utility to most others. Hopefully this will signal that CRA is moving more to helping the little guy understand compliance issues - remember that most Canadian charities are all volunteer do not have a single staff person and when you have a budget of $100,000 or less as most charities do, you are probably not hiring a tax litigator in a major city to answer your questions.
Admittedly about 1 million per year to reach out to 86,000 charities is a bit puny, but it is a start.
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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.