Charitable donations

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What is this?

If you, your spouse, or your common-law partner made a charitable donation (a gift of money or property) to certain qualified institutions or organizations, you may be able to claim the donation amount as a non-refundable tax credit.

Donations made by December 31 of the tax year and any unclaimed donations from up to five years ago are claimable. You can also carry forward charitable donations during a tax year, and claim them in any of the following five tax years. You do not need to create or record a carry forward; simply keep the receipts and include them with your tax return in the year that you wish to claim the amount.

You can claim all donations up to a limit of 75% of your net income. If you made gifts of certified cultural property or ecologically sensitive land, you may be able to claim 100% of your net income. If you are a qualifying first time donor, you may be able to receive an additional federal tax credit of 25% on the first $1,000 of monetary donations. Click this link for more information on the tax credit rates for charitable donations.

Note: If you receive something of value from the charity in return for making a donation, that is considered an advantage. The value of the advantage must be subtracted from the donation amount.

The Charitable Donations tax credit can only be used to reduce your income tax payable. Your tax savings will be equal to the amount of the tax credit calculated except if:

  • You are a resident of Québec and are entitled to a refundable federal tax abatement, then your actual federal tax savings will be reduced.
  • 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.
  • You made a donation of publicly traded securities, you may increase your tax saving by reducing your capital gains tax.


Am I eligible?

You must have an official receipt from the qualified institution or organization for the donation you made. If you donated through a company program or through your employer, the donation amount must be shown on your T4, T3, T4A, or T5013 slip.

An official tax receipt must include:

  • A serial number or a receipt number
  • Date the receipt is issued
  • The name, address, and registration number of the charity
  • Date donation received
  • Donor’s name and address
  • Total amount received by charity
  • Fair market value/value of advantage
  • The Canada Revenue Agency’s website address
  • A signature by a duly authorized officer of the organization

Note: The qualified institution or organization is not required to issue an official receipt. You must confirm with the charity if they will issue an official receipt for donations. You can’t claim the Charitable Donations tax credit unless you have an official receipt.

Click this link to see a list of Canadian charity listings.


Where can I learn more?