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News and discussion on implementing risk management

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Canada Revenue Agency

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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CRA guidance: Charitable status for internal divisions

internal divisions

Many larger charities are structured in such a way that there is a head organization with subordinate divisions operating below it. For example, a charity that operates across the country may do so by way of local ‘chapters’ overseen by a main organization, or a religious governing body may have several related parishes.


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Charities can now help businesses in the aftermath of disasters

aftermath of disasters

In August 2017, the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) updated its Guidance CG-014 on community economic development (“CED”) activities and charitable registration. There were a number of updates to the Guidance, but the most significant was the inclusion of the statement that charities are now able to support, on a more long-term basis, the efforts of businesses that are helping to rebuild communities affected by disaster.


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Revenue Generation for Charities

The Canada Revenue Agency’s policy statement, “What is a related business?”, describes the rules charities need to follow when considering a revenue-generating activity.


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Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) updates for charities and other not-for-profits

Canada Revenue Agency recently released the following updates which are of interest to charities and other not-for-profits.


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Federal Court of Appeal denies CRA routine access to tax accrual working papers

On March 30, 2017, the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) released its decision in BP Canada Energy Company v. MNR (2017 FCA 61), dealing with whether the Minister of National Revenue (the Minister) could compel the taxpayer to disclose the uncertain tax positions reflected in its tax accrual working papers (TAWPs).


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The sharing economy expands the tax base

The sharing economy has disrupted the traditional taxi, hospitality and other sectors, and is expanding the tax base available to governments and revenue agencies worldwide.


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Political activities: Consultations may have side effects

As our readers know, the new government has taken steps to revamp the restrictions on political activities by charities, by dismantling the political activities audit program and by promising a new approach following consultation with the public and members of the charities industry. It is important, however, to note that the changes may not only effect the charity realm as Nova Scotia Community Interest Corporations have similar restrictions.


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Substantively enacted corporate income tax rates

corporate income tax rates

Ernst and Young’s tables of substantively enacted corporate income tax rates have been updated to December 31, 2016. The tables are prepared on a monthly basis and you can subscribe to them on The determination of the substantively enacted date of a corporate income tax rate change follows the guideline provided in EIC-111 (generally […]


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Political activities law: Charity brings new Charter challenge

When the Liberals came into power last year, the new Minister of National Revenue announced that she was putting a halt to the “political activities” audit of charities that the previous administration had been conducting for the past few years. In practice, this meant that the charities in line to be audited under the program were given a reprieve, but those that were already in the course of being audited were not. One of the latter charities, Canada Without Poverty, is now bringing a constitutional challenge against the political activities law.


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CRA provision misuse: The right to remain silent

Practically every tax professional in the country has had to deal with the situation which arises when the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) bases its reassessing position on the basis of an oral comment to the CRA. The difficulty is that there is no proof the comment was made or it may have been the result of a misunderstanding between the parties. In our practice we had one instance where a comment by an official of a charity to the CRA served as basis for reassessing over a thousand taxpayers. While the official admitted to having made the comment the fact was that the CRA auditor had misunderstood the context in which it was made.


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Charities political activities: CRA consulting on rules

The Government of Canada has committed to modernizing the rules governing the charitable sector to ensure that they are operating in a regulatory environment that respects and encourages their contribution to society. One of the areas they are looking into is clarifying the rules governing charities political activities.


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Business tax information just got clearer!

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has announced that it has redesigned the correspondence it sends to Corporations regarding their business tax information, including individual Canadians, and Goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) notices of assessment (NOA) and notices of reassessment (NOR). The CRA has made changes to how the notices are structured, designed, formatted, and written, making the information easier to read and understand.


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Even in the face of disaster, charities should not stray from their purposes

Whether it is assisting Syrian refugees to settle in Canada or helping those fleeing from floods and fires, the goodwill of the people and charities in Canada always make headlines. In times of disaster, it seems many charities want to raise money and get on the bandwagon to help those in need. Although this may be a laudable goal for charities that want to show their benevolence, sometimes it could simply get them into trouble.


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Data breach protection services: Taxable in Canada?

A recent IRS announcement raises questions about how Canadian tax authorities will treat the free data protection services that organizations often provide in order to mitigate data breaches.


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