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Canada Revenue Agency Seeks Recommendations for Small and Rural Charities

(Oct. 29, 2007)The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has held a series of consultations with small and rural charities that will result in a series of recommendations to the Minister of National Revenue on how to better serve and support these organizations.

A series of workshops took place across Canada in October 2007 to help the CRA understand the needs and challenges of small and rural charities. The agency consulted with the charities on a number of issues, including:

  • Education – Is the information provided by the CRA in publications, on its website and at its Roadshows comprehensive and understandable?
  • Reporting – Discussing FormT3010A, Registered Charity Information Return, other forms and obligations to provide information.
  • Compliance and enforcement – The CRA compliance approach, including education letters, compliance agreements, audits, the application of sanctions, revocation of charitable status and barriers to compliance.
  • Tools – Frequently asked questions (FAQs) or report cards that could assist charities, the sector’s readiness for electronic forms, etc.
  • Service delivery – The Charities Directorate’s telephone and correspondence services and service standards.
  • Rules – Identify which rules—whether based in legislation, regulation or policy—are too complex, misunderstood or pose compliance challenges.
  • Registration – Form T2050, Application to Register a Charity Under the Income Tax Act, standard objects (objects pre-approved as being charitable), etc.

Final Report in December

Using the information gleaned from these proceedings, a panel of six to nine individuals representing small and rural charities will meet in November to develop recommendations for the Minister of National Revenue. Those recommendations are due to the minister in December and will be released to the public in a summary report in 2008.

The bulk of the recommendations are expected to focus on ways to improve and enhance services and reduce the administrative burden for small and rural charities. In an announcement on its website, the CRA has stated that it “recognizes that most small and rural charities have limited resources and rely mostly on volunteers to carry out their activities, which can limit their ability to meet their obligations and maintain their status as a federally registered charity.”

To help charities meet their obligations, the CRA has established a toll-free telephone inquiries service (1-800-267-2384).

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