Political party's use of charity's premises

Policy commentary

Release date
October 14, 1992

Reference number
CPC-007

Subject

Partisan political activity - Whether charging fair market rent to a political party for use of charity's premises constitutes direct or indirect support of a political party

Purpose

To clarify the Directorate's policy regarding political activities in the case of a registered charity making its premises available to a political party.

Commentary

1. A charity can charge fair market rent to a political party for occasional meetings. This, in itself, does not always indicate a charity's support of such a party, especially in rural areas where sometimes a registered charity may have the only hall that can accommodate such meetings.

2. This support can manifest itself in other ways. The charity could, for example, charge fair market rent to one political party, but be reluctant to rent the premises to all others. Similarly, a frequent and continued association of the charity always with the same political party could lead to the conclusion that the charity favours this party to the exclusion of others. For example, where a party's local headquarters are in a building owned by a registered charity.

3. While renting premises to a political party at fair market value is not necessarily prohibited, the issue will depend on the facts of each case. Charities are cautioned in engaging in this form of behaviour to the extent that it could be interpreted not only by the Canada Revenue Agency but also by the public-at-large as a prohibited political activity.

References

  • Income Tax Act, R.S.C. 1985 (5th supp.) c. 1, paras. 149.1(6.1)(c) and (6.2)(c)
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