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.
The 2018 court case, Canada Without Poverty v. AG Canada, 2018 ONSC 4147 (CanLII), held that the restrictions on a charity’s involvement in non-partisan political activities, as they were at the time, violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom and were unjustified.
As a result, changes to the Income Tax Act now permit charities to carry out unlimited public policy dialogue and development (PPDD) activities that further their stated charitable purposes. The changes received royal assent on December 13, 2018 and CRA’s revised T3010, other forms, and guidance on the subject (read here), to reflect the changes.
PPDD activities are those that seek to influence the laws, policies or decisions of a government in Canada or abroad. If PPDD activities further a charity’s stated charitable purposes, it can expend unlimited amounts of its resources on PPDD activities.
The effect of these changes on the T3010 Form includes the following:
- The heading “Public policy dialogue and development activities” replaced the old “Political Activities” heading at Section C5. The CRA no longer uses that term.
- A single line item replaces four, at Section C5. Instead of having to disclose various amounts related to political activities, charities need only answer “yes or no” to a question asking if they carried on PPDD activities during the fiscal year. The charity must complete Schedule 7 if the answer is “yes”.
- Schedule 6 – Detailed Financial Information, no longer includes Line 5030 – “Total expenditures on political activities, inside or outside Canada, from question C5 (b)”. There is no requirement anywhere in the T3010, to disclose the expenditures on PPDD activities.
- Schedule 7 – Public Policy Dialogue and Development Activities (formerly Political Activities), now has one section instead of three. Gone are the sections requiring identification of political activities, including gifts to qualified donees intended for political activities; resources used for political activities; and foreign funding of political activities. Instead, there is a single section to describe PPDD activities and how they relate to the organization’s (stated) charitable purposes.
Ensure that political advocacy includes only PPDD activities that further your stated charitable purposes and retain evidence to support this assertion. Complete the related fields in Form T3010 accurately and completely.
Log in to Not-for-Profit PolicyPro now and go to NP 1.06 – Taxes and Charitable Returns for further guidance. (Prospective charities may read NP 1.01 – Registering the Organization, for the impact of the above changes on applications for registered charity status.) Not a subscriber? Request a free 30-day trial of Not-for-Profit PolicyPro here.
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