Changing a charity's legal name
A registered charity must make sure that official donation receipts are issued in its legal name as recorded with the Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). If a registered charity issues an official donation receipt with incorrect information, the charity is liable to a penalty equal to 5% of the eligible amount stated on the receipt. This penalty increases to 10% for a repeat offence within five years. Receipts that show a name other than the name recorded with the Charities Directorate may be rejected when donors claim them on their income tax returns.
A registered charity that changes its name must provide documentation to the Charities Directorate showing that its name has been legally changed. The charity will receive written confirmation of the change and the charity's new name will be updated in the Charities Listings on the CRA website. A registered charity should only issue receipts in its new name once the new name is reflected in the Charities Listings.
Depending on the charity's legal structure, different documentation must be submitted.
Charities that are incorporated
Provide a copy of the amended incorporation documents (for example, supplementary letters patent, articles of amendment, or special resolution) bearing the seal, stamp, or signature of the incorporating authority.
Charities established by a constitution
Provide an amended constitution with the signatures of three directors and the effective date of the change.
Charities established by a trust document
We recommend that a charity get legal advice before making any changes to a trust document to ensure that changes can be made and that they are legally valid.
Internal divisions (such as a congregation, parish, or local branch)
Provide a letter from the head body confirming the change of name and the effective date with the signature of a director, trustee, or other authorized representative of the head body.
Mail or fax the documentation to:
Canada Revenue Agency
Ottawa ON K1A 0L5
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