CRA removes West Kelowna food bank’s charitable status

Bette Ladd is livid with Canada Revenue Agency's decision to revoke Bette's Single Family and Seniors Food Bank of its charitable status.

The Canada Revenue Agency has revoked Bette's Single Family and Seniors Food Bank of its charitable status.

The Canada Revenue Agency has revoked Bette's Single Family and Seniors Food Bank of its charitable status.

Bette Ladd is livid with Canada Revenue Agency’s recent decision to revoke Bette’s Single Family and Seniors Food Bank of its tax-exempt, charitable status.

According to a letter from the CRA, Ladd was invited to submit documentation showing why the registration should not be revoked last October. As of Aug. 7, the CRA had not received any information from Ladd.

Bette’s Single Family and Seniors Food Bank was audited on operations of the organization from Jan. 1, 2008 to Dec. 31, 2009. Ladd was sent a letter on Oct. 31, 2011, indicating several violations of the Income Tax Act.

“Given the organization is a food bank, the amounts spent on food are significantly low, representing only 20 per cent of total revenue for 2008 and 23 per cent of total revenue for 2009,” the letter states.

“In comparison, the amounts paid to or on behalf of Ms. Ladd far exceed the amounts expended on food.”

The letter went on to note expense receipts of the organization for the period of the audit were kept loosely in a box, unorganized.

“Many receipts contained items that would not be typical of a food bank, such as shampoo, dog food and single item purchases.”

According to the CRA letter, Bette’s Single Family and Seniors Food Bank also pays for expenses of Ladd’s two motor vehicles—including fuel, repairs and maintenance—as well as cell phone costs.

Seventy-one-year-old Ladd said she is appealing the decision.

“I like helping people, that’s been my niche for a long time,” said Ladd.

“I have a taxation consultant who is working on this as we speak. If we get revoked, then there’s nothing we can do; but I don’t think we’re going to get revoked because we have got everything in place.”

Ladd doesn’t hide the fact she has made money as director of the food bank. She said she has earned her share by going above and beyond the director role and taking on tasks that would typically require additional staff.

“I admit I made money, I’m not saying I didn’t. (It’s) because I work my ass off here…I get on the phone and I raise $1,000 (per week), I do all the pickups.”

The director criticized CRA’s audit and said the agency “did things they weren’t supposed to do,” although, she wouldn’t get into specifics. She added a young woman who “didn’t know what she was doing” was responsible for carrying out the audit.

Ladd doesn’t know what’s next for the food bank if the appeal isn’t successful.

But for the time being she is going to continue providing a service she feels is important to residents of West Kelowna.

“We’re going to fight until at least Christmas time; we do so much for our families at Christmas.”

According to Ladd the food bank serves 27 seniors in the community. She didn’t have statistics on how many single families are served on a regular basis.

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

Kelowna Capital News