It looks like the Vancouver Sun is doing another series on Blake Bromley and his use of charities. The article is entitled “Charitable donation expert says he heeds law, not CRA ‘technical rulings”. I think there are a few concerns with Blake Bromley’s arguments some of which I will refer to below.
First, although CRA does not make the law, Finance and ultimately Parliament do - the ultimate arbiter of whether CRA is correct in their interpretation of the law is the courts. In three recent court decisions namely Travel Just, Coleman and A.Y.S.A. the courts did not accept his submissions.
Second, the Income Tax Act sets out a role for CRA and court decisions have confirmed that.
Third, when the media highlights a few charities that it considers acting inappropriately it regrettably reflects badly on the whole charitable sector. The charity sector is an extremely important part of our society and of the Canadian economy with revenue of $182 Billion per year. Any transactions, whether perfectly legal or not, that undermine donor, public, media and government confidence in the sector is potentially problematic for the long term interests of the sector.
Fourth, I believe that professional advisors have to consider not only the law and interpretation of the Income Tax Act, but also many other relevent considerations.
Fifth, I believe that ignoring a regulators rules, which he refers to as ‘technical rulings’, is not a good way to have a sustainable charity.
Here is a recent case, the Coleman case, Mr. Bromley represented some taxpayers in court. I would encourage people to read the judgment and note that it is being appealed to the Supreme Court:
Here is the original Tax Court judgment: http://www.globalphilanthropy.ca/index.php/blog/judgments_of_the_tax_court_of_canada/
Here is the Federal Court of Appeal decision: http://www.canadiancharitylaw.ca/index.php/blog/comments/coleman_and_ballard_et_al_v._the_queen_-federal_court_of_appeal_sides_with_/
For the Vancouver Sun Article “Charitable donation expert says he heeds law, not CRA ‘technical rulings”
Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Charitable+donation+expert+says+heeds+technical+rulings/4702872/story.html
Also there has been other coverage of him and charities that he is involved with:
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.