Budget Introduces Electronic Filing for Charity Returns and Applications

February 11, 2014

As one of the measures designed to ease the administrative burden on registered charities, the Budget proposes to provide additional funding to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to enable it to modernize its information technology. This modernization will enable organizations to apply for charitable registration and file their annual T3010 information returns electronically.

The availability of online filing will be welcome in the sector. Applicants for registered charity status must currently file their applications in hard copy, and registered charities must similarly file their annual returns in hard copy. Paper return filing in particular is a significant administrative burden that is not imposed on other taxpayers, who can generally file returns electronically.  The shift to electronic filing will bring the tax filing system for charities in line with other taxpayers.  It will also provide the CRA with much better audit screening data.  It may also allow applications for registration to be processed more quickly by the Charities Directorate.  Finally it will assist in assuring that the information available to the public on the CRA website is accurate.

We will look forward to announcements from CRA as to the timetable for when electronic filing will be available. However, we do note that the Budget allocation for this initiative is $23 million over 5 years.

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