Assisting people and charities impacted by the wildfires in Alberta

Charities

Our charity has been affected by the wildfires in Alberta and will not be able to file its Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return, on time. Will my charity be revoked or be issued a penalty as a result?

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) understands that the main concerns of those affected by the disaster are their families, homes, businesses, and communities. We also understand that filing required documents, such as Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return, is not a priority at this time. In light of this disaster, the CRA will be providing proactive relief to affected charities by allowing more time to meet their information filing requirements. The situation will be monitored by the CRA and addressed case by case.

Our charity’s books and records were destroyed as a result of the fire. What should we do?

In the event of a fire or other disaster that destroys a charity’s books and records, the Canada Revenue Agency can help charities re-establish themselves by giving them copies of documents we hold in our files. However, this can only partly replace what may be lost. The Agency will work with the charity to help ensure the charity is in compliance with the requirements of the Income Tax Act.

Our charity did not receive the Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return, package due to the wildfires. Can we still file a return?

Yes, to get the return online, go to T3010 charity return - Filing information.

Our charity is concerned about meeting filing requirements with incorporating authorities as a result of the fire. How can I learn more about these?

For federal incorporation under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, visit Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

For provincial or territorial incorporation, go to Provincial and territorial governments.

For more information, go to Incorporation documents.

Our charity wants to support the victims of wildfires in Alberta by raising funds and helping those who are affected. Can we do this?

Generally, a charity can carry out activities, including fundraising activities, that further its charitable purposes. Charitable purposes that allow a charity to help victims of disaster or other emergency might include a purpose to relieve poverty by providing financial or other assistance to those in need. Your charity can also gift funds raised for these purposes to other registered charities that are established to carry out such purposes.

To avoid placing your registered status in jeopardy, if your charity wants to carry out new programs and activities, you should contact the Charities Directorate to make sure the proposed activities are allowed and determine whether your purposes should be amended.

What if we believe our charity’s purposes allow us to become involved in raising funds for and helping those affected by the wildfires, but we have not provided the Charities Directorate with detailed information on how we will do so?

You can ask the Charities Directorate to review your purposes and proposed activities, and it will consider them on a priority basis. A charity that wants to conduct new activities should give the Charities Directorate a detailed statement of those activities to make sure they further the charity's purposes. For more information on new activities, go to Changing a charity's activities.

Our charity wants to become actively involved in raising funds for, and helping, victims of the wildfires, but these activities do not fall within our approved purposes. Can we change or add to our purposes?

Yes, a charity can change or add to its purposes. If you want to do so, you should send your proposed purposes to the Charities Directorate for review, along with a detailed statement of the activities you intend to conduct to further the purposes. The Charities Directorate will consider them on a priority basis. If they are acceptable, you can then amend your governing documents. For more information on changing purposes, go to Changing a charity's purposes.

There are registered charities established to help victims of disaster that have systems in place to effectively conduct such activities. Donating to, and working with, these organizations may be a more efficient use of resources.

How can I establish a new registered charity to provide relief to victims of the wildfires in Alberta?

You can apply to the Canada Revenue Agency to be registered, and applications with purposes that address this emergency will be considered on a priority basis. However, processing new applications may take longer than other options, and setting up the infrastructure needed to provide disaster relief may be complex. If you want to provide help, we encourage you to work with existing registered charities that are established for, and carrying out, programs of emergency relief. For more information, go to Is registration right for you?

Donors

What organizations can issue official donation receipts?

Only Canadian registered charities and other qualified donees can issue official donation receipts in Canada.

How do I know which charities are involved in disaster relief?

You can identify organizations involved in helping with relief efforts by checking local news sites. You can then verify that an organization is a registered charity by checking the CRA List of charities.

Also, the CRA Charities Listings has many advanced search features to help you. For example:

  • You can refine your search by selecting a charity type. Most relief organizations are listed under welfare or health.
     
  • You can refine your search by selecting a category. Many relief organizations are listed under the following:
     
    • Welfare organizations – not elsewhere classified
    • Services other than hospitals
    • Disaster funds
Is it better to donate money or supplies?

Donations of money are the fastest, most efficient way to get help to people living in a disaster zone or affected by a natural disaster. They allow charities that are familiar with the situation to buy supplies based on the needs of the affected population. However, it is possible to donate supplies such as used clothing and household furnishings to a registered charity to help victims of disaster. If the fair market value of the items can be determined, the charity may be able to issue an official donation receipt. You should contact the charity to confirm this. For more information on receipting, go to Issuing receipts.

When a retail store asks customers if they would like to donate a few dollars to a charity, can the store receive a receipt for the total amount collected and donated?

No. A registered charity can only issue a receipt to the true donor(s). When a retail store collects donations from customers for a registered charity, it is the customers who are making the donations, not the retail store. Therefore, since the customers are the true donors, the retail store would not be entitled to a receipt when it gives the collected money to the charity.

When can I claim my donation?

A donation may be claimed on your income tax and benefit return in the year it is made or in any of the five years after that year. For example, a donation made in 2016 can be claimed in 2016 or a later year, up to and including 2021.

How can I find out more about registered charities?

You can review the Charities and giving webpages. If you still have questions or concerns, you can Contact the Charities Directorate.

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