Should this one paragraph in the budget worry non-profit groups?

The Conservatives are a sneaky bunch.

It looks like they may have buried an attack on civil society in a section of their 419-page federal budget by packaging it as a way to "improve tax integrity, strengthen compliance and enhance fairness." 

Who could be against that -- except it's unclear what this paragraph is really about:

Announcing a public consultation on the income tax framework for non-profit organizations (NPOs) to ensure that the tax exemption for NPOs is appropriately targeted and not subject to abuse by organizations that claim the exemption but are not operating in the manner intended, and to ensure that reporting requirements for legitimate NPOs provide the public and the Canada Revenue Agency with sufficient information to evaluate their activities.
Ongoing Conservative attacks on charities and unions are well-established, and the Harper government always seems to be trying to find new ways to hamper the ability of groups to criticize government policy and fight for fair wages.

Is this new consultation just setting the table to extend this line of attack against non-profit groups with this talk of abuse, tax exemptions and public reporting requirements?

The Department of Finance told PressProgress Thursday that the consultation "will not extend registered charities, registered Canadian amateur athletic associations or organizations claiming an income tax exemption as a labour organization," and it won't include "questions regarding the deductibility of union dues and professional fees." 

So what's this all about?

The department would only flag this CRA bulletin. It includes groups that are "organized exclusively for social welfare, civic improvement, pleasure, recreation or any other purpose except profit."

Stay tuned to see how this one plays out.

Photo: rebeccabarray. Used under a Creative Commons BY SA 2.0 licence.


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