Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Facts, figures on a new crop of tax audits of charities for political activities

OTTAWA - Facts and figures on a new crop of Canada Revenue Agency audits since 2012 focusing on the political activities of charities, begun after several cabinet ministers complained about environmental charities that oppose some proposed energy projects in Canada:

Budget: CRA given $13.1 million between 2012 and 2017 for a special team of auditors to examine political activities of charities. Agency will have $1.7 million annually for a permanent team after 2017.

Politically active charities: CRA says fewer than one per cent of registered charities report any political activities, or 355 of about 55,000 organizations who filed annual returns as of June 28 this year under new rules. There are about 86,000 registered charities in Canada.

Rules: Policy established in 2003 allows charities to devote up to 10 per cent of their resources to defined political activities, although partisan activities — endorsing candidates or parties — are always forbidden. The rules do contain some grey areas about what constitutes political activity.

Audits: CRA says its charities directorate plans to conduct 60 audits focused on political activities from 2012 to 2016, or an average of 15 a year, compared with 900 regular annual audits. Some 52 such political-activity audits are now in process.

Targets: CRA reported that as of Jan. 31 this year, 31 audit files for political activities included two anti-poverty groups, four education groups, three religious groups, as well as charities for health, human rights, animal welfare, environment and community organizations.

Length: CRA says such audits can last months or years, depending on complexity.

CRA example of political activity: When a charity "explicitly communicates a call to political action, that is, encourages the public to contact an elected representative or public official and urges them to retain, oppose, or change the law, policy, or decision of any level of government in Canada or a foreign country."

Results: CRA says no charity has so far lost its status under the new regime of political-activity audits, though it has issued "education letters" and "compliance agreements" to a few. One doctors' charity lost its status in 2012 after a political-activity audit that predated the current round.

Quote: "The CRA has a legal responsibility to ensure that charitable dollars, donated by charitable Canadians, are used for charitable purposes. ... CRA audits occur at arm's length from the government and are conducted free of any political interference." — Revenue Minister Kerry-Lynne Findlay.

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.


Make text: Larger | Smaller

Election 2014
Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media