According to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), a registered charity must file its Charity Information Return (T3010) including financial statements every year within six months of its fiscal period-end. If this is not done, the charity’s charitable status may be revoked. The T3010 Registered Charity Information Return asks for a lot of detailed information regarding a charity’s activities and it’s critical that this return is completed correctly. Why?
The CRA uses this information to determine if a charity is operating in accordance with its mandate and is using its privilege appropriately.
Information from this form is publicly available online and often relied upon by a charity’s donors (and prospective donors) to find out how donations are being spent.
In December 2016, twenty-three national and regional charities were selected by the Financial Post as the most deserving Charities of 2016. In “Charities of the Year 2016: Our annual report card on the good-deed doers worthy of your donations” the Financial Post explained that an important part of their assessment depends on whether charities “accurately reported their finances to the Canada Revenue Agency.” Unfortunately, the Financial Post found that too often charities’ tax returns were “riddled with errors” and lacked important reporting!
The CRA has cited in their “Report on the Charities Program 2015-2016” that information from the T3010 can be a common reason a charity is selected for an audit. As well, one of the most common findings from these audits is annual return errors.
As of June 2019, we retired our T3010 Online Guidance Tool because the Canada Revenue Agency launched a similar digital resource for Canadian charities. We like to think that we inspired them! Now you can complete your Registered Charity Information Return (T3010) online via this link.
As with all online resources, this article may not provide the best advice for your unique situation. If you would like to discuss the requirements of your charitable organization with a Stern Cohen specialist, please contact us.