You will see in today’s Globe and Mail http://bit.ly/t9S9UB; the CRA has fined the Reimer Express Foundation this enormous penalty for payments made to non-qualified individuals and charities.
Reimer Express Foundation has supported Christian charities to the tune of $2M annually. The problem is in 2003-2004, the Foundation provided $250,000 of improper donations to individuals and organizations outside Canada that are not approved by the CRA. The CRA audited the Reimer Express Foundation in that year and the Foundation signed a “compliance agreement” saying it would abide by CRA rules and guidelines. This is all well and good, but as revealed in a subsequent audit in 2009, Reimer Express Foundation continued supporting some of the non-qualified charities and continued to provide support to individuals- both which do not comply with CRA regulations, thus they have been fined.
While these gifts may have been made with the utmost of good intentions, Canadian donors and foundations need to adhere to the CRA’s guidelines in providing donations to charities.
As a donor, before you write the cheque, you need to make sure the organization you are about to support is indeed a legitimate CRA registered charity or qualified donee. It is simple to find out this information. Go online to the CRA’s Charity Directorate: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/menu and click on the Charities Listing link to look up the name of the charity you are about to support. If it is a charity or university outside Canada, give the Charities Directorate a call and they will be able to advise you if the organization is a qualified donee. The Charities Directorate toll free number is: 1-800-267-2384; they are open 8:00am-8:00pm. You have no excuse to say you did not know! Still need help? Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org