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News and discussion on implementing risk management

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Income Tax Act

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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CRA revises position on the retention of church envelopes

As a condition of charitable registration, charities are required to keep proper books and records. This requirement not only enables the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) to audit charities efficiently, but it also ensures that charities are able to justify and validate the information provided on their T3010, Registered Charity Information Returns. One of the most common […]

 

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Overview of record keeping obligations for non-profit organizations and registered charities

While non–profit organizations and charities are usually busy carrying out the purposes of their organization, record keeping often takes a back seat to other priorities. However, good record keeping practices by a non–profit organization or a registered charity should not be overlooked.

 

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New case law dealing with CRA requests for documents

On June 3, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada released two important decisions dealing with requests made by the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) for information. The cases highlight the fact that when an individual or an organization receive such a request from CRA, they should consider whether any of the information requested is subject to solicitor–client privilege. If solicitor–client privilege applies, the information should not be produced.

 

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Thirty percent rule update and tax policy review

The federal government is reviewing one of the investment rules that applies to registered pension plan investments. The review is considering both the pension and tax policy rationale for the rule. While the repeal or relaxation of this rule would not impact the majority of Canadian registered pension plans in terms of their actual investments, any changes to income tax rules relating to pension plan investments could have much broader application. If you wish to make submissions to the federal government, they must be submitted by Sept. 16, 2016.

 

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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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Federal Budget 2016 at a glance: A business perspective

On March 22, 2016, the new Liberal Government’s first federal budget, Growing the Middle Class (“Budget 2016”), was tabled. Budget 2016 focuses on growing the economy, creating jobs, and strengthening the middle class.

 

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Donation tax rules: Now things are getting ridiculous

People always complain about the tax laws being way too complex but you know things are bad when even the tax lawyers are losing track of the most fundamental elements of the law. And what could be a more fundamental element of income tax then knowing the right percentage to apply to a given transaction […]

 

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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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Registered charities get ready to submit applications for Ontario property tax rebates

The deadline for registered charities (and eligible, similar entities) to submit property tax rebate applications for 2015 is the last day of February, 2016. Given the many variables that may be involved in an application, and the opportunities for early submission and therefore earlier cashflows, now is a good time to get started on rebate applications.

 

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Supreme Court rules against director of a charity

As Counsel for Ms. Guindon in her case with the Minister of National Revenue we have kept our readers abreast of developments as the appeal wended its way to the Supreme Court of Canada. On July 31st, 2015 the Supreme Court issued its ruling in the matter thus ending the appeal for Ms. Guindon. The Supreme Court found…

 

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