General Information About Receipts

R1. What is an "official" donation receipt?

R1. What is an "official" donation receipt?


Short Answer

An official donation receipt is a receipt issued by charities, and other qualified donees, that are registered with the Canada Revenue Agency’s Charities Directorate, for gifts received.

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Certain details need to be included on an official donation receipt.
See Receipting: The Basics FAQ R5

R2. Who can issue official donation receipts?

R2. Who can issue official donation receipts?


Short answer

All qualified donees may issue official donation receipts for gifts received from individuals and corporations.

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Under the Income Tax Act, however, there is no requirement that a registered charity issue receipts for gifts received.

R3. Who are qualified donees?

R3. Who are qualified donees?


Short answer

Under the Income Tax Act, qualified donees are organizations that can issue official donation receipts for gifts that individuals and corporations make to them.

Examples

Qualified donees include

  • registered charities;
  • registered Canadian amateur athletic associations;
  • registered national arts service organizations;
  • housing corporations in Canada set up exclusively to provide low-cost housing for the aged;
  • municipalities in Canada;
  • under proposed legislation, for gifts made after May 8, 2000, municipal or public bodies performing a function of government in Canada;
  • the United Nations and its agencies;
  • universities outside Canada with a student body that ordinarily includes students from Canada;
  • charitable organizations outside Canada to which the government of Canada has made a gift during the donor’s taxation year or in the 12 months immediately before that period;
  • the government of Canada, a province, or territory;

R4. Our charity was officially registered on March 1, 2008. When can we start issuing official donation receipts?

R4. Our charity was officially registered on March 1, 2008. When can we start issuing official donation receipts?


Short answer

It depends on the kind of gift. Your charity can issue receipts for gifts-in-kind as of your effective date of registration. In the case of cash gifts, you can issue receipts as of the year of registration. (CPC 009)

Example

As stated, your organization’s effective date of registration is March 1, 2008. If you received a gift-in-kind on January 12, 2008, a receipt cannot be issued for the gift, since it was received prior to your effective date of registration. If the gift were a cash donation, you would be able to issue an official receipt as of January 1, 2008.

Long Answer

On the official donation receipt, your charity must enter the date on which the gift was received. A registered charity cannot issue an official donation receipt for a gift-in-kind received prior to its effective date of registration.

R5. What does our charity need to know before we issue an official donation receipt?

R5. What does our charity need to know before we issue an official donation receipt?


Short answer

You need to know the following:

  • Is this gift eligible for a tax receipt?
    • If so, what is the fair market value of the property transferred?

  • Has the donor received something in return for the gift? This is known as an "advantage".
    • If so, what is the eligible amount to be receipted?

R6. Does our charity always have to issue official donation receipts for donations?

R6. Does our charity always have to issue official donation receipts for donations?


Short answer

No. Under the Income Tax Act, a registered charity is not required to issue receipts for gifts received.

Long answer

Remember that donors cannot claim a charitable tax credit or deduction unless they have an official donation receipt. Therefore, if your charity does not issue receipts, you should let potential donors know.

Similarly, if your charity only sometimes issues receipts, you should let potential donors know of the circumstances in which you will and will not issue a receipt.

R7. How does our charity determine whether to issue official donation receipts?

R7. How does our charity determine whether to issue official donation receipts?


Short answer

Generally, the main consideration is cost.

Long answer

Receipting carries with it a certain administrative burden and receipted donations increase a registered charity’s spending obligation. Therefore, your charity may choose to issue receipts according to certain criteria or you may choose not to issue receipts at all. Either way, in the interests of good public relations, your policy should be communicated to your donors.

Examples

Some registered charities set minimum donation thresholds for receipting (for example, receipts are given for donations of $20 and over). Others do not provide receipts during certain fundraising events (for example, a garage sale or penny carnival).

R8. For any given calendar year, when must our charity complete all receipting?

R8. Pour une année d’imposition donnée, à quel moment notre organisme de bienfaisance doit-il effectuer la délivrance de tous ses reçus?


Réponse courte

L’Agence du revenu du Canada suggère que les organismes de bienfaisance délivrent les reçus aux donateurs au plus tard le 28 février de l’année suivant la date du don, ce qui permet aux donateurs de demander la déduction dans leur déclaration de revenus.

R9. Our charity received a gift from another registered charity. Should we issue an official donation receipt to the other charity?

R9. Our charity received a gift from another registered charity. Should we issue an official donation receipt to the other charity?


Short answer

No, you should not issue official donation receipts to other charities. Charities do not pay taxes, therefore do not need an official donation receipt. You do need to give your charity registration number to the other charity for its reporting requirements.

Long answer

In cases where a donation is received from a charity, a normal business receipt is sufficient to acknowledge the gift.

Business receipts are also used in the case of acknowledging other transactions that are not eligible for an official donation receipt, such as sponsorship where there has been a clear advantage to the business.

Registered charities must keep track of gifts received from other registered charities as these amounts are required to calculate the disbursement quota.

For more information see: www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/prtng/gfts/rgstrd-chrts-eng.html

R10. My charity is hiring a third party to organize a fundraiser. Can that third party issue the official donation receipts?

R10. My charity is hiring a third party to organize a fundraiser. Can that third party issue the official donation receipts?


Short answer

No.

Long answer

Although a registered charity can enroll a third party organization or retain a fundraiser to organize a fundraising event, the position of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is that the charity should maintain control over all monies that are earned as part of the event and over the receipts that are issued.

In addition, if the charity does not run the event by itself, through its own employees or volunteers, it should put in place a written agreement setting out the fundraising arrangements and ensuring that all fundraising and receipting rules are adhered to.

Lastly, charities should be aware before entering such arrangements of CRA’s policy on fundraising. Read up on it at Fundraising by Registered Charities

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For more on third-party fundraisers, see Third-party fundraisers for the benefit of a particular registered charity - Policy Commentary .

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