Economic Action Plan 2014 further responds to the recommendations in the report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance on charitable donation tax incentives by proposing to reduce the administrative burden on charities and enhance public awareness.
Registered charities must file annual information returns with the Canada Revenue Agency. Unlike other groups, however, charities do not have the option of filing their information returns electronically. This poses a significant administrative burden for volunteers and staff of some 86,000 registered charities across Canada. This issue must be addressed to allow charities to devote more time and resources to charitable activities rather than administration. In addition, making data on charitable giving and trends more accessible will enhance public understanding of the charitable sector.
Both information technology modernization and enhanced public awareness have been identified as key priorities by the charitable sector. Accordingly, Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes the following measures:
- To reduce the administrative burden on charities, funding will be provided to the Canada Revenue Agency to modernize its information technology, thereby enabling charities to apply for registration and file their annual information returns electronically for the first time. This will represent an overall cash investment of $23 million over five years.
- To improve public awareness, the Canada Revenue Agency will establish an enhanced web presence on charitable giving trends and characteristics in Canada.
These measures are expected to cost $1 million in 2014–15 and $0.5 million in 2015–16.