Political Activity and Form T3010

Authored by Barry W. Bussey, Director, Legal Affairs

In light of recent changes to the guidelines for charities involved in “public policy discussions and development activities” (PPDDA), CRA has released updated instructions for filling out Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return. Charities now have less to report when it comes to political advocacy or involvement.

CRA will provide revised forms for November 2019. In the meantime, CRA is asking charities to complete the existing forms as if they referred to PPDDA rather than “political activities”.

Charities are permitted to engage in PPDDA related to their stated charitable purposes; CRA notes that acceptable PPDDA “generally involve seeking to influence the laws, policies, or decision of a government, whether in Canada or a foreign country.” However, partisan activity such as endorsing or opposing a specific party or candidate is prohibited. For more details, see Guidance CG-027, “Public policy dialogue and development activities by charities”.

Using the current T3010, under Section C5 (“Political Activities”), indicate whether or not your organization carried on any PPDDA. Disregard the present reference to “making gifts to qualified donees that were intended for political activities”. Do not complete C5 (b), (c), or (d).

If you check “yes” for C5 (a), then fill in Schedule 7, “Political Activities,” Table 1. The present form asks charities to “Describe the charity’s political activities, including gifts to qualified donees intended for political activities, and explain how these relate to its charitable purposes.” Answer this question as if it read: “Describe the activities your organization was involved in, and explain how these relate to its charitable purposes.” Do not complete Tables 2 or 3.

Also do not complete Line 5030 – Political activities, from Schedule 6, “Detailed financial information”; or “Was any part of the gift intended for political activities?” and “If yes, enter amount,” on Form T1236, Qualified Donees Worksheet / Amounts Provided to Other Organizations.

Noteworthy is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Every organization’s circumstances are unique. Before acting on the basis of information contained in this blog, readers should consult with a qualified lawyer for advice specific to their situation.