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Inside Internal Controls

News and discussion on implementing risk management

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Canada Revenue Agency

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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Like pornography – The Court will know major T3010 inaccuracies when it sees them

In most cases the application of law is conceptually simple the law is transgressed and a punishment applies. Unfortunately, in the charity world nothing is simple. When a charity is found to have transgressed the law the Charities Directorate may decide on a range of options. One widely used mechanism is the Compliance Agreement (a “CA”) in which the Directorate identifies the offence and the charity promises not to do it anymore. If (and when) the Directorate audits again it almost always moves directly to revocation if the charity is again (or still) offending in the same way.

 

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The Voluntary Disclosures Program: A “second chance” to come forward and correct tax affairs

In light of the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) annual report revealing that there has been a significant increase in the number of Canadians coming forward to correct their tax affairs under the Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP), we wanted to give some insight into what the VDP is about. Essentially, the VDP gives a taxpayer a […]

 

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Does being an Ontario not-for-profit corporation mandate audited financial statements?

Given that many (although certainly not all) not-for-profit corporations (“NFPs”), both charitable and non-charitable, have a December year end and are preparing for their year end financial reporting, we thought it timely to provide a reminder about the financial disclosure requirements contained in their governing corporate legislation.

 

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Canada Revenue Agency new T3010 reporting requirements

There is a new reporting requirement for Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return. The addition is necessary because of changes announced as part of the 2015 Federal Budget.

 

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Planned giving donors should make sure strings are attached

Planned giving has been an issue of interest to the charitable sector for several years. The enthusiasm by which the sector has taken up the discussion has permeated the donor community. As a result donations by will are a common occurrence. But if the donor does not monitor developments with the charity the gift could lapse and frustrate the donor’s intentions to support the organization.

 

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What others say may be held against you

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) recently issued an Advisory on Partisan Political Activities (the Advisory). It warned charities that the prohibition against partisan political statements also extended to Internet links to third-party statements and to user comments posted on charities’ websites, blogs or other social media.

 

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Maintain direction and control of charitable resources, or lose charity status

According to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), one of its main reasons for revoking a charity’s registration is the charity’s failure to devote its resources to its charitable activities. A recent Federal Court of Appeal case provides a refresher on what this requirement entails when a charity uses an agent or other intermediary.

 

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Charities and related businesses

Registered charities, except charities designated as private foundations, may run related businesses; however, the Income Tax Act does not define what a related business is except to state that a volunteer-run business is to be considered a related business even if there is no link between the business and the objects of a charity.

 

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What can a non-profit organization pay out to its members?

A recent CRA ruling conveniently breaks down some of the rules about how a non-profit organization (NPO) may distribute its assets, including during wind-up, without risking its tax-exempt status…

 

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Volunteering for a charity is rewarding – But brings its own hazards

Volunteering for a charity can be a rewarding way to help out in the community but it can bring with it a number of legal responsibilities. Legal responsibility is often assigned on the basis of the role an individual serves within an organization. Volunteering, though, can muddy the waters about the position of the individual within an organization. This is particularly true in circumstances where the charity does not keep corporate records of its directors.

 

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Court confirms that religious charities must actively promote a religion

Earlier this month, the Federal Court of Appeal was asked to consider whether the Minister of National Revenue had erred in confirming the decision of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to deny the Humanics Institute’s application for charitable status. CRA denied the application on the basis that: 1) The Humanics Institute’s purposes were too broad; 2) the activities stated in support of its purposes were not charitable; and 3) it did not demonstrate that it would have direction and control over certain of its resources, as its proposed funding of a foreign scholarship could not be considered to be the organization’s “own activities” or the funding of a qualified donee.

 

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Eighteen-year tax battle with the CRA a win for taxpayers

Irvin Leroux fought the Canada Revenue Agency for 18 years over allegations of unpaid taxes and gross negligence. Despite losing some of Leroux’s original documents, the CRA eventually claimed he owed close to a million dollars in taxes, penalties and interest for three years when he was starting his RV park business in British Columbia.

 

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CRA puts federally-incorporated charities on notice

In September, we received a number of inquires from charities that received alarming letters from the Canada Revenue Agency’s Charities Directorate with regard to keeping their registered charity status under the Income Tax Act.

 

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Social enterprise movement is gaining momentum

The social enterprise movement is gaining momentum in the non-profit and charitable sectors. There are frequently articles in the popular news about “successful” not-for-profits expanding their activities to include revenue generating activities. There are enterprises like the old standby enterprise of selling used clothes and goods, but we hear more about ambitious plans like one recently highlighted in the Calgary Herald discussing how the local legion is becoming something akin to a real estate developer…

 

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