Questions and answers about donating to registered charities
About registered charities
How do I verify if a charity is registered?
Ask the charity for its registration number and confirm its status in the Charities Listings. Or, call the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) at 1-800-267-2384.
Is a charity required to issue an official donation receipt?
No. However, the CRA advises charities to notify potential donors of any circumstances in which they will not issue an official donation receipt.
Can a charity return a donation?
In most cases, a charity cannot return a donor’s gift. At law, a gift transfers ownership of the money or other gifted property from the donor to the charity. Once the transfer is made, the charity is obliged to use the gift to carry out its charitable purposes. For more information, go to Returning a gift to a donor.
Can a charity lend its registration number to another organization for receipting purposes?
No. A registered charity should never lend its registration number to another organization. A registered charity is responsible for all tax receipts issued under its name and number and must account for corresponding donations on its annual information return. A charity that lends its registration number risks losing its charitable registration.
Does a charity have to send copies of official donation receipts to the CRA?
No. However, charities are required to keep a copy of official donation receipts for at least two years from the end of the calendar year in which the donations were made.
Making a donation
In whose name must an official donation receipt be issued?
An official donation receipt can only be issued to the true donor of the gift to a charity. If a corporation donates money that that has been collected from its employees, and there is a written declaration to prove this, the charity can issue an official donation receipt in each donor’s name. For more information, see Policy Commentary CPC-010.
How can I correct or replace an official donation receipt?
You can ask the charity to issue a replacement. For more information, go to Correcting or replacing official donation receipts.
If the registration of a charity I recently made a donation to has been revoked, can I still claim my tax credit?
If the organization was registered when you made your donation and your receipt reflects the correct amount you gave, you can still claim your tax credit.
What if I get something in return for my donation?
When a charity gives you something of value in return for making a donation, this is considered an advantage. The value of an advantage must be subtracted from the amount of your donation for receipting purposes. For example: You donate $1,000 to the Anytown Ballet Company, which is a registered charity. In gratitude, the company gives you three ballet tickets worth $50 each, for a total value of $150. These tickets are considered an advantage of $150. The eligible amount of your donation on your official donation receipt will be $850 ($1,000 - $150).
Do I have to claim donations the same year I make them?
No. You can carry forward donations you do not claim in the current year and claim them on your return for any of the next five years. But, you can only claim donations once. Also, you have to claim donations you carried forward from a previous year before you claim donations made in the current year.
Is it safe to donate online?
I’ve been invited to participate in a donation program that will make me a profit. Is it safe to participate?
There are serious risks associated with this type of program. To learn more, go to What are donation schemes and why should I avoid them?
Complaints and reporting fraud
How can I 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 I report charity fraud?
Call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or call the Charities Directorate at 1-800-267-2384.
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