There have been a number of charity tax proposals put forward in the last year by the charitable sector as suggestions for change. One change that we thought had a real chance of success (because it had no real tax revenue cost, unlike various proposals for expanded donation recognition) was the proposal to move charitable registration and revocation appeal jurisdiction from the Federal Court of Appeal to the Tax Court of Canada. This change was the only one suggested by the Joint Regulatory Table of the Voluntary Sector Initiative that was not passed into law as part of the 2004 Budget. It has been requested by charity sector organizations and others on a number of occasions since.
Charity registration appeals go directly from CRA to the Federal Court of Appeal by way of judicial review. This is less than ideal because the procedure of the Federal Court of Appeal (the second highest court level in Canada) is not designed for ease of access. We had therefore hoped and the sector had requested that charity appeals would go first to the Tax Court, and only proceed to the Federal Court of Appeal after first being heard at the Tax Court.
Unfortunately, original jurisdiction over charity registration appeals was not moved in the Budget and remains with the Federal Court of Appeal. We can only hope that this change will be included in a subsequent budget.