Left-Leaning Think Tank Raises New Questions about Bias in Tax Agency Audits

By Levitz, Stephanie | The Canadian Press, October 21, 2014 | Go to article overview

Left-Leaning Think Tank Raises New Questions about Bias in Tax Agency Audits


Levitz, Stephanie, The Canadian Press


Think tank calls for review of charity audits

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OTTAWA - A left-leaning think tank is raising new questions about the possibility of political interference in audits of charities.

The Broadbent Institute says a review of financial records from 10 right-leaning organizations show none of them report carrying out any political activities despite public statements which could be interpreted otherwise.

Yet those groups seem to be escaping the scrutiny of Canada Revenue Agency audits into the political activity of charities even as a host of left-leaning groups are under the microscope, the institute says in a report being released Tuesday.

Though the CRA denies a group's place on the political spectrum is what triggers an audit, the Broadbent Institute report says the only way to know for certain is to have an impartial inquiry into their work.

"This report, I think, adds to a growing amount of evidence that that CRA may be less interested in compliance with the law than it is in politically-motivated retribution against the Harper government's critics," said Rick Smith, the executive director of the Broadbent Institute, an organization founded by former NDP Leader Ed Broadbent.

"So that's why we are saying an independent inquiry is very clearly called for here."

The CRA is currently conducting audits into whether registered charities are breaking a rule which prohibits them from spending more than 10 per cent of their money on political activities or are engaging in partisan work.

The audits began in 2012 with a special $13.4-million-dollar program around the same time as Conservative ministers were attacking environmental charities as being terrorists. …

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