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The holiday season is a time of giving, and many will provide what they can for the less fortunate.  Making a donation to charity has its benefits not just to the recipient but also to the donor. In Canada, charitable donations are tax deductible. However, not every gift, donation or assistance could be claimed as a deductible or a tax credit. There are certain eligibility requirements set by the government that donors must meet in order to receive a credit or claim a tax deductible. Before donating to a charity, consider these important information:

What Qualifies as a Charity?

Although the term “charity” is often interchanged with “non-profit organization”, only donations given to organizations registered and recognized as charities may be considered for tax purposes. A charity that has been registered is tax-exempt and can legally issue an official tax receipt to donors.

Some of the qualified donees include:

  • Registered charities in Canada
  • Canadian municipalities
  • National arts services (registered organizations only)
  • Prescribed universities (educational institutions outside Canada)
  • Amateur athletic associations in Canada (must be registered)
  • The United Nations and associated agencies
  • Non-profit organizations that provide low-cost housing for the elderly

In addition, donations may also qualify if these are given to charitable organizations to which the Canadian government has donated within the last 12 months preceding the current taxation year. Note that in order for an organization to issue an official receipt for a donation, it must be a registered Canadian charity.

Also, issuing a receipt is not mandatory for every donation made and many organizations will only issue one if the donor asks. Keep records, receipts and documents that prove your donation to your favorite organizations. If you claim a deduction, you will be required to show supporting documents such as official receipts, credit card bills/slips, cheques, bank statements, etc.

What Types of Donations Are Considered Acceptable?

Certain gifts and donations qualify for tax credits, including cash/money, property (such as certified cultural, ecologically sensitive and capital real estate), and personal property of value, such as jewellery, paintings, sculptures, antiques, rare books and manuscripts, coins, stamps and prints.

Related services that do not qualify for tax credits include service contributions such as skills, effort or time, cost of buying lottery tickets, and admission fees and cost of attending charitable programs and events.

In Canada, there are tens of thousands of registered charitable organizations operating in the country. Here are some of the ones you might consider donating to:

FUNDRAISING

ENVIRONMENT & ANIMALS

INTERNATIONAL AID

HEALTH

SOCIAL SERVICES

AMATEUR ATHLETIC ASSOCIATIONS

For More Information

To check if the charity you wish to donate to is registered, browse the list provided by the Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency. This link is a searchable page that offers related information about your chosen charity and its current status.

For more information about tax-deductible charity donations, visit the Canadian Revenue Agency’s  Information for donors

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