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News and discussion on implementing risk management

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Charities

The Lord works in mysterious ways

The Federal Court of Appeal recently released its decision in the Church of Atheism of Central Canada case. While the Appellant appears to have been self-represented the case provides guidance to lawyers in the area and corrects what may have been the start of a very difficult path for the law of charities.

 

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The new Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return

In November 2019, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) revised Form T3010, to reflect recent changes in the law governing political advocacy. All registered charities and Registered National Arts Service Organizations (RNASOs) must complete a Form T3010 each fiscal year.

 

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Directors of not-for-profits and charities – resignation, removal and replacement

An effective board of directors is key to the success of any charity or not-for-profit entity (“NFP”). A frequent concern is what to do about directors who, for whatever reason, are no longer appropriate for the organization.

 

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Governance considerations for unincorporated associations that will pay off in the long run

It is not unusual for startup organizations to be attracted to the concept of an unincorporated association, since unincorporated associations require little effort to form and are less costly to run than corporations.

 

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It’s a whole new ball game for charities at the FCA

Many in the sector have, for many years, advocated that appeals from decisions to revoke and refusals to register be heard by the Tax Court for this exact reason. They are simply better suited for testing the facts. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, these pleas have not been heard by Parliament, now though, for strictly practical reasons, they may have no choice but to make changes. All around, Vavilov will have positive implications for the charity sector.

 

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ON government access to information disclosure on ONCA – so many pages and so little said

Since February 2019 there has not been any update from the Ontario government about ONCA coming into force. As we have noted before the Ontario government is no longer referring to ONCA coming into force in early 2020. A few months ago we put in a freedom of information request on ONCA and the computer company developing the new ONBIS system. We just received the answer to my ATIP request and needless to say it does not answer either of the questions with there being some significant redactions.

 

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Charities in the waiting room

Most organizations that are pursuing charitable status are incorporated. Part of the requirement for achieving such status is that the corporation is organized to pursue charitable purposes. But that by itself is not enough for charitable registration and so prospective charities must apply to the CRA for registration. The question then arises about the tax status of those corporations that are not yet (and may never be) registered charities, and what are their responsibilities?

 

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ONCA – does no update mean no ONCA?

I have been asking the Ontario government for months for an update on whether ONCA is coming into force and when. On September 25, 2019 I received a short note from the Policy and Business Law Unit of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS). They noted

 

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Not-for-profits should leverage information technology, safely

Not-for-profits have numerous opportunities to leverage information technology (IT), from social media to cloud computing and beyond.

 

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Question to CRA on alter ego trusts and whether transfers are a donation

STEP Canada had a CRA Roundtable on June 6-7, 2019 and they discussed a number of topics. One issue of interest to charities and philanthropists is Question 2 dealing with alter ego trusts and donations.

 

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Ways to maintain proper books and records

A recent Tax Court of Canada (“TCC”) decision, Promised Land Ministries v. The Queen[1], serves as a reminder to charities of the importance of maintaining proper books and records.

 

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TCC ruling on failure to maintain adequate books and records with foreign activity and suspension

This case of Promised Land Ministries v the Queen is vital reading for any Canadian charity conducting foreign activities because of its extensive discussion of books and records and foreign activities.

 

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Making sense of CRA’s new online Canadian charity application system

CRA in June 2019 brought in a new charity application system under their CHAMP modernization program. Here is our article Making sense of CRAs new online Canadian charity application system.

 

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CRA announces upcoming changes to the T3010 and T2050, removing political activities

On March 15, 2019, CRA announced that there will be changes to the T3010 Annual Return and the T2050 Application to Register a Charity to account for the recent changes to the political activities rules for Canadian registered charities.

 

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Objects of registered charities in Canada are sometimes not charitable

Objects are very important and often Canadian charities don’t understand that even though they are a registered charity their objects may not actually be charitable.

 

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