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Inside Internal Controls

News and discussion on implementing risk management

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Drache Aptowitzer LLP

Balancing confidence and flexibility in gift planning

Typically when donors are considering their end of life gift planning they attempt to include a number of strings by which to effectively direct their donations from beyond the grave. Generally speaking when the donation is large or the gift has personal, sentimental value to the donor (such as artwork) the strings attached will be significant.

 

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NQS, GRE and the ITA – Three letters, two concepts, and one complicated issue

Over a year ago then Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced that there would be major changes in the way Canadians would be taxed at death. The new system created what was called a Graduated Rate Estate which, amongst other things, entitles the estate of a taxpayer to the graduated rates of tax which are applied to living taxpayers. After 36 months the estate, if not wound up by then, would be taxed at the highest marginal rates.

 

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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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Not-for-profits should be doing some strategic thinking

Typically, because charities are subject to so much regulation and not-for-profits comparatively little, most focus from the sector tends to fall on the former. However, there are changes both recent and expected that not-for-profits should be planning for.

 

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Donor beware: Bolting the barn door after it’s burned to the ground

In a report entitled “Donor Beware”[1] the Tax Ombudsman opined on the CRA’s administrative responsibilities regarding charitable donation tax shelters. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the report is that it is dated March 19th, 2014, after years of legislative implementation of tools for the CRA to crack down on tax shelter promoters, charities, directors of charities and donors connected with such plans. As far as we can tell most offensive tax shelters seem to be shut down albeit leaving several large messes still to be cleaned up.

 

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Not-for-profit report is a call to action

For many years, increasingly stringent regulation of the charity sector pushed oversight of the not-for-profit sector off the list of priorities. There was not even any good data on the number of not-for-profit organizations (NPOs) in existence, because the CRA did not compel them to file basic tax forms. Over the past several years, however, the Department of Finance and the CRA have started taking a closer look at the sector, beginning with a three-year review of over 1000 ostensibly random audits of NPOs. The final Not-for-Profit Report was just issued on February 17, 2014.

 

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Credit-proofing charity assets

Most charities and not-for-profit organizations are incorporated as non share capital corporations. These corporations are considered separate legal entities from their members or directors. This ‘separateness’ protects the members (and to a large extent directors) from being personally liable in the event the organization finds itself liable for damages as a result of a court finding.

 

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Introducing guest blogger Adam Aptowitzer at Drache Aptowitzer LLP

It’s a pleasure to welcome Adam Aptowitzer, Drache Aptowitzer LLP as a guest blogger. Adam will be blogging on behalf of Drache Aptowitzer LLP on corporate law and Income Tax law as it applies to charities and not for profits.

 

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