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News and discussion on implementing risk management

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Charities

No good deed goes unpunished

Fundamentally, charities are actors in society as are any others. We all have a duty of care to some degree to our neighbors. Indeed, generally the closer the relationship the higher the standard of care one expects. Consequently, charities need to be aware that even in the pursuit of charitable activities, they could be liable if their activities do not take into account the safety and the potential damage of their actions to either their beneficiaries or to their patron donors.

 

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Ontario court strikes down limits on non-partisan political advocacy by charities

An Ontario court decision rendered on July 16th may completely change the rules about political advocacy by Canadian charities. The decision struck down the law limiting a charity’s non-partisan political activities. This affects every Canadian charity hoping to get public support for policies relevant to its charitable purposes and activities.

 

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Upcoming deadlines and changes for charities and other not-for-profits

Charities and not-for-profit organizations need to be aware of some upcoming changes to rules and laws.

 

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Charity checklist: What to do if your charity is audited

The best defence against negative audit consequences is proactive compliance with the Income Tax Act. Charities should take care to familiarize themselves with the rules in the Act and ensure that they demonstrate compliance with these rules.

 

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30 months in jail for facilitating false donation tax scheme

While donors to fraudulent donation schemes may not be morally innocent, their culpability does not reach the level of the promoters of these schemes. It is refreshing to see the CRA prosecuting those responsible, rather than merely reassessing and penalizing taxpayers.

 

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Wine(ing) about donations

A recently released decision of the Tax Court of Canada illustrates some of the problems in donating gifts in kind and their valuation.

 

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Legal issues for charities and NPOs on social media networks

It is recommended that an organization implement policies and procedures that minimize the legal risks associated with using social media. This includes training protocols to educate volunteers and employees on these risks.

 

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Forewarned is forearmed: Questions you should ask before joining a board of directors

Serving as a director of a charity or NPO can be an enriching and exhilarating experience. Many Canadians contribute to the betterment of their community by the hours volunteered when serving on a board of directors. However, there are some things to watch out for before joining a charity’s board of directors.

 

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Back to school: A new world for foreign universities

The system of rules imposed on registered charities are complex and are imposed both on the collection of revenue and its spending. In theory, all of these rules now apply to foreign universities.

 

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Back to school: A new world for foreign universities

The system of rules imposed on registered charities are complex and are imposed both on the collection of revenue and its spending. In theory, all of these rules now apply to foreign universities.

 

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Senate of Canada to study charitable sector

On January 30th, 2018, the Senate of Canada passed a motion to appoint a Special Committee of the Senate to review issues related to the charitable sector in Canada. The Senate confirmed that the Committee’s general mandate will be to examine “the impact of federal and provincial laws governing charities, non-profit organizations, foundations, and other similar groups, and to examine the impact of the voluntary sector in Canada.”

 

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Receipting and donor relations

This case is a reminder that charities need to be mindful of the rules when they issue donation receipts. Donors rely on the receipts in order to claim tax credits/deductions. If the Minister denies a donor’s claim for a tax credit/deduction on the basis that the charity did not include all of the required information, this will reflect poorly on the charity and could harm its relationships with donors.

 

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Directors’ liability for source deductions

An issue came up when a CRA auditor queried CRA rulings. She had a file where she intended to assess the directors of a not-for-profit corporation for its failure to remit trust funds. The directors had retained legal counsel, who was of the view that directors’ liability does not apply to directors of a not-for-profit corporation.

 

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Government sin of omission may lead to your sin of commission

In enacting changes to the regime which deals with donations to foreign universities Budget 2018 has created an immediate issue for anybody that donates to these schools. What is unknown is whether this was intentional.

 

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Tax court addresses clergy residence deduction for religious teachers

The clergy residence deduction provides for a limited deduction for housing provided to a member of the clergy or supplied by a member of the clergy. It is a deduction that has existed for a long time and seems to have been designed to address the situation of a member of the clergy who is provided with a manse by a local congregation, but who may be expected to use the house in the course of clergy duties.

 

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