How do I calculate my charitable tax credits?

For donations made after March 20, 2013, qualifying first time donors may receive an additional federal tax credit of 25% on the first $1,000 of monetary donations, over and above the amounts indicated on this page. For details, go to First-Time Donor's Super Credit.

To calculate your charitable tax credit, you first need to determine the eligible amount of your charitable donations. Go to Making a donation to determine which organizations can issue official donation receipts, and what types of gifts qualify. Once you have determined that your donations are eligible, you must then determine the total amount of donations you wish to claim. In any one year, you may claim:
  • donations made by December 31 of the applicable tax year;
  • any unclaimed donations made in the previous five years; and
  • any unclaimed donations made by your spouse or common law partner in the year or in the previous five years.

You can claim eligible amounts of gifts to a limit of 75% of your net income. For gifts of certified cultural property or ecologically sensitive land, you may be able to claim up to 100% of your net income (see Pamphlet P113 Gifts and Income Tax for more information).

Once you have determined the amount, use the Charitable donation tax credit rates table to calculate your charitable tax credit. There are two charitable tax credit rates for both the federal government and the provinces and territories. Any eligible amount you give above $200 qualifies you for a higher rate. The following example shows how to use the rate table.

Danielle lives in the province of Saskatchewan and donated $400 in 2013 to registered charities:

  1. The federal charitable tax credit rate is 15% on the first $200 and 29% on the remaining $200. Her federal tax credit is therefore (15% × $200) + (29% × 200) = $88.
  2. The provincial charitable tax credit rates for Saskatchewan for 2013 are 11% on the first $200 and 15% on the remaining $200. Therefore her provincial tax credit is (11% × $200) + (15% × $200) = $52.
  3. Her combined charitable tax credit is ($88 + $52) = $140.

Tax savings

This is a non-refundable tax credit. As such, it can only be used to reduce tax owed; if you don't owe any tax, you don't get a refund. Generally, your tax savings will be equal to the amount of the charitable tax credit calculated. The following are exceptions:

  • If you are a resident of Quebec and are entitled to a refundable federal tax abatement, then your actual federal tax savings will be reduced.
  • If you are required to pay provincial income surtax, then your actual saving will be more than the charitable tax credit calculated as the credit will reduce both your base income taxes and provincial surtax.
  • If you made a donation of publicly traded securities, you may increase your tax saving by reducing your capital gains tax.

For a quick estimate of your charitable tax credit for the current tax year, try out the Charitable donation tax credit calculator.

For more information about claiming your charitable donations, see the General Income Tax and Benefits Guide.

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