Questions and answers about making donations


On this webpage, “receipts” refers to official donation receipts and “charity” refers to a registered charity.

About registered charities

How can you find out if a charity is registered?

You can ask the charity for its registration number and confirm its status in the Charities Listings. You can also call the Charities Directorate at 1-800-267-2384.

Does a charity have to give a receipt when it receives a donation?

No. But the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) advises charities to tell potential donors when they will or will not give a receipt. For example, a charity may decide to give receipts only for donations over $10.

Can a charity return a donation?

In most cases, no. Once the donation is made, the charity has to use the donation to carry out its charitable programs. But there are exceptions. For more information, go to Returning a gift to a donor.

Can a charity lend its registration number to another organization so it can give receipts?

No. A charity should never lend its registration number to another organization. A charity is responsible for all  receipts issued under its name and number and must show these donations on its annual return. A charity that lends its registration number could lose its charitable registration.

Does a charity have to send copies of receipts to the CRA?

No. But charities have to keep a copy of all receipts they issue for at least two years from the end of the calendar year the donations were made in.

Making a donation

Whose name should a charity put on the receipt?

A receipt can be issued only to the true donor of the gift. For example, if a corporation donates money that was collected from its employees, and there is a written declaration to prove this, the charity can issue a receipt in each donor’s name. For more information, see Policy Commentary CPC-010.

Can a charity correct or replace a receipt?

Yes. A charity can give you a replacement receipt. For more information, go to Correcting or replacing official donation receipts.

The charity you made a donation to is no longer registered. Can you still use your receipt to claim a tax credit?

Yes. If the organization was registered when you made your donation, you can still use your receipt to claim a tax credit.

What if you get something in return for your donation?

When a charity gives you something of value in return for your donation, it is considered an advantage. The charity has to subtract the value of the advantage from the amount of your donation to figure out the eligible amount to put on your receipt.

Is it safe to donate online?

A charity that asks for donations online should be responsible for protecting your information. Read the charity’s privacy policy before making a donation. Make donations only if the webpages are secure. If you are not sure about donating online, contact the charity and ask about other ways to donate.

You’ve been invited to participate in a donation program that will make a profit for you. Is it safe to participate?

There are serious risks associated with this type of program. To learn more, go to Donation tax shelter schemes.

Complaints and reporting fraud

How can you make a complaint about a charity?

Email the Compliance Division of the Charities Directorate or call 1-800-267-2384. Give the name and, if possible, the registration number of the charity, along with detailed information to support your complaint.

How do you report charity fraud?

Call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

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