FCA upholds tax ruling related to donations for bursaries scheme for TWU students
Several months after the debate surrounding academic freedom (University Affairs) at Trinity Western University (TWU) has left the public’s focus, TWU is back in the news, this time in connection the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal earlier this month in Ballard v. Canada (CanLII). Here’s the version of the story from The Province:
An appeal court has ended a long-standing tax scheme in which students at Trinity Western University received scholarships or bursaries for their education in exchange for donations being funnelled by family members to a Christian charity.
The court was asked to rule on a tax deduction in which Trinity Western University solicited family members to donate to a registered Christian charity in exchange for a tax receipt that would lower the income tax they paid, and allow the students to receive scholarships or bursaries for their education.
According to court documents students were told: “God does not want to see students graduate with huge burdensome student loans.”
The dispute goes back to taxes filed as far back as 2002. During its peak, almost $5 million in tax receipts were issued for students at Trinity Western and other Christian colleges.
The federal tax agency maintained it was not a true gift if the donor is expecting and receiving a direct and possible equal financial benefit in return.