Glossary

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Adjournment

Pushing back the date of a court case. A postponement will sometimes be given if an important witness does not appear on the day of a court case.

Admission

An admission is when one person involved in a court case admits as true a fact put forward by the other side. An admission can be made verbally or in writing.

Once a fact has been admitted, it generally cannot be denied before the judge. Also, admitting important facts can directly affect a person’s responsibility. This is why a person defending a case will usually only admit facts that are not controversial and that don’t have a direct impact on her responsibility.

Advantage

Something a person gets in return for a donation to a registered charity. Examples include meals, tickets to a show, books, CDs, coffee mugs, T-shirts and guest speakers.

The value of an advantage must be subtracted from the amount of a donation when an official tax receipt is issued for the donation. However, sometimes small advantages do not have to be deducted. (For more information on small advantages, see the “de minimus rule”.)

Amend

To change a legal text, such as a court document or a law.

Annual information return

A form registered charities must file each year with the Canada Revenue Agency. Also called a "T3010". On the form, charities must provide information on their activities, how they spent their money, the people who oversee the organization, etc. The form must be filed within 6 months of the end of a charity’s fiscal period.

Appeal

A request made to a higher court to change all or part of a lower court’s decision. Not all decisions can be appealed.

Appraisal

The evaluation of the quality or worth of something. Registered charities sometimes get donations of things instead of money. The law requires these charities to put a dollar value on these things. When the thing is probably worth more than $1,000, the Canada Revenue Agency strongly advises getting an appraisal from an independent person not connected to the charity or the person or organization that made the donation.

Appraiser

A person who evaluates what something is worth, usually in terms of money. A professional appraiser does this for an occupation. For example, art appraisers put values on artwork. Registered charities sometimes get donations of things instead of money. The law requires these charities to put a dollar value on donations of things. Using an appraiser is a way to put a dollar value on this kind of donation.

Arm’s length

Describes a relationship in which people or organizations act independently of each other and are not related through family or business ties.

In other words, the people or organizations do not control or influence each other or have another connection that might cause one to treat the other in a special way.

Some examples:

  • 2 people who are married are not arm’s length from one another
  • a shareholder who controls a business is not arm’s length from the business
Articles of incorporation

A document created and filed with the government when an organization or business corporation applies to incorporate.

(A business corporation is also called a "corporation" or "company".)

The articles of incorporation list information such as the name of the organization or business corporation, the place where it has its head office, its purpose, and its activities.

Assets

Things that are owned. Assets are sometimes divided into categories:

  • “Current” assets: cash, bank accounts, short-term investments, accounts receivable (money owed to an organization) and inventory
  • “Long-term” assets: stocks and bonds
  • “Fixed” or “capital” assets: buildings and equipment.
Attorney General

The provincial and federal ministers of justice have a second title: Attorney General. This title gives them the power to represent the government in court in cases involving their governments. The Attorney General can either take a case to court or defend a case. In practice, usually lawyers working for the Attorney General go to court to argue these cases.

Audit

A detailed examination of something. An audit often relates to financial matters. The Canada Revenue Agency can audit registered charities to make sure they are respecting their obligations. Sometimes the agency’s audits are random, meaning the charity is chosen by chance, not because the agency suspects the charity has done something wrong.

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