In January 2017, the CRA released its Report on the Charities Program 2015–2016, which provides interesting insights into Canada’s charitable sector. A common thread weaving through issues related to obtaining and maintaining charitable status is the need to create, maintain, and report/file information required by the Charities Directorate and the Income Tax Act.
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.
It’s a rare not-for-profit that isn’t spending a great deal of its time and attention scrabbling for revenue. In fact, it hardly needs to be said that effective generation and management of revenue flows are almost always critical success factors for not-for-profits.
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.
Readers will know that the new Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act came into effect in 2011, bringing the regulation of not-for-profits into line with modern corporate legislation. This carries with it the onus to apply for continuance under the new Act by October 2014, or be dissolved.
Charities know they’ve got strict rules to follow, and they know there are stiff penalties for non-compliance. They should also know that the Charities Directorate and the Canada Revenue Agency will work with organizations to help them maintain their charitable status, if necessary through a compliance agreement which both the CRA and the charity accept.