Every church board has the important responsibility to be in compliance with the Canada Revenue Agency and a major part of that responsibility is the filing of the T3010 Income Tax form each year. Although it is not the responsibility of the senior pastor to do these activities, it is in the best interest of the senior pastor to ensure that this task is accomplished because failure to do so usually results in the church relinquishing their charitable status.
Income Tax Return
The T3010, also known as the Registered Charity Information Return, is an income tax return form for registered charities, including churches. Every church is required to submit this tax form within six months of the church’s fiscal year-end. Assuming your fiscal year-end is December 31, this means the form must be submitted by June 30th.
NEW ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY
The CRA has recently released some updates and increased their expectations for filing the T3010 on time. The CRA’s “Guidelines for Applying the New Sanctions”, states the following:
“There are . . . cases where we are likely to move directly to revocation. The first is when a charity does not file its annual return. The Charities Directorate will continue its zero-tolerance policy for non-filers – if a charity does not file its return after we have reminded it to do so, we will simply revoke its registration. In our view, filing is a fundamental obligation for all registered charities. In its annual return, a charity accounts to donors and Canadians generally for its tax-advantaged status. The return also provides the Directorate with key information needed to administer and enforce the legislation.”
According to the Canadian Centre for Christian Charities, in the most recent year statistics that have been made available, CRA has reported that 1,368 charities had their registered status revoked due to “failure to file”. More than half were faith-based charities.
To avoid a late or missed filing, the board should make a permanent agenda item for the same timing each year, with lots of time for completion and filing, to approve the completed T3010 and authorize someone to sign it and file it with CRA. There is a $500 penalty for filing late and the increased risk of additional scrutiny from the CRA.
As well, you must ensure that the CRA has up-to-date contact information on record for your church. Click here for further details.
Use the link below to download the latest version from the government website.
The T1235 form is submitted with the T3010 and is used by a registered charity to identify its board of directors and trustees.
If you make a mistake on the T3010 and discover it after you have submitted, you can submit the T1240 form for the required amendments.
If your charity changes its name, legal status, charitable purposes, bylaws, activities, contact information, authorized representative, directors, trustees, etc, do not send these changes along with the T3010 package. There are separate forms or processes for each of these changes. To find the correct forms and processes for your changes, go to the CRA website Making a Change to Your Organization.