New year, new disbursement quota

December 15, 2022 | Kristina Roberts

Update: Since the initial release of this article, Bill C-32 received Royal Assent on December 15, 2022.

Since Federal Budget 2022 was released back in April, the charitable sector has been awaiting confirmation that the proposed increase to the disbursement quota (“DQ”) will become law. Bill C-32, the Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022 (“Bill C-32” or the “Bill”), which implements the changes to the Income Tax Act (the “ITA”) to increase the DQ, is currently before Parliament. Everything appears to be on track for the new DQ to apply to fiscal periods starting on or after January 1, 2023.

Bill C-32 passed its first reading on November 4, 2022 and its second reading on November 22, 2022. The Bill does exactly what Federal Budget 2022 promised it would do, and introduces a new graduated DQ rate. The DQ will remain at 3.5% on the portion of property not used in charitable activities and administration up to $1 million, and will increase to 5% on the portion of such property that exceeds $1 million.

In Federal Budget 2022, the government indicated that the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) will improve its collection of information from charities, including information about whether charities are meeting their DQ obligations, and information related to investments and donor-advised funds (“DAFs”) held by charities. There is speculation that there will be changes to the Form T3010 (Registered Charity Information Return) that will require more disclosure from charities on disbursements from DAFs and endowment funds. However, there are no amendments to the ITA or Regulations in Bill C-32 to this effect. We will have to wait and see if CRA makes any administrative changes.

Bill C-32 includes the expected amendment to s. 149.1(1.1) of the ITA, which states that expenditures on administration and management are not considered qualifying expenditures for the purpose of satisfying a charity’s DQ. Federal Budget 2022 frames this change as a clarification, implying that this has always been the Government’s position. In its current Guide to Completing Form T3010, CRA acknowledges that “some expenditures can be considered partly charitable and partly management and administration, such as salaries and occupancy costs.” In light of the amendment to the ITA, we expect that CRA may provide more guidance around how expenses should be divided between these categories.

Bill C-32 also removes the accumulation of property rule from the ITA, which exempted charities from including certain property in the calculation of their DQ. In lieu of this provision, Bill C-32 introduces changes to the ITA that provide CRA the discretion to reduce a charity’s DQ obligation for a particular year, upon request. CRA will be permitted to disclose these decisions publicly.

If you have any questions about Bill C-32 and how the new DQ will impact your charity, please reach out to a member of our Social Impact Group.

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