Charity receipts

What information must be included in a Canadian Charity receipt?

A Canadian Charity receipt must include, in a manner that cannot be easily changed, at minimum, the following information:

  1. That it is an official receipt for income tax purposes;
  2. The charity’s BN (Business Registration Number), name, and address in Canada as recorded with the Canada Revenue Agency;
  3. The serial number of the receipt;
  4. The place where the receipt was issued;
  5. If it is a cash donation, the day and year on which the charity received the donation;
  6. If the donation is a gift other than cash, that is, a gift in kind;
  7. The day on which the charity received the donation;
  8. A brief description of the gift and the name and address of the appraiser of the property - if it is a gift in kind;
  9. The day on which the charity issued the receipt;
  10. the full name, including middle initial, and address of the donor;
  11. The amount of a cash donation, or if the donation is a gift other than cash, the amount that is the fair market value of the gift at the time it was made;
  12. The signature of an individual authorized by the charity to acknowledge donations;
  13. The name and website address of the Canada Revenue Agency

For a sample Charity Reciept that includes all the mandatory elments of a Canadian Charity Reciept, click here:  FAQ R12 – Sample Receipts.

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Gift for Gift


Q. We are a religious Charity based out of Winnipeg and have a donor who just gave us a huge donation, the biggest our charity has seen to date. It's big, in the millions. We would like to show our appreciation by giving her a token gift. Is that allowed under Canadian Charity Law?

Short Answer: Absolutely, but...

Comprehensive Answer: In legal parlance, a token of appreciation is called "advantage" and "consideration." In some cases, depending on the value of the "consideration", the charity may have to reduce the amount of the receipt by the value of the gift. 

So what does it depend on? A Charity must determine the FMV (Fair Market Value) of the consideration (token appreciation) given to the donor. If the FMV of the consideration is minimal, then the value of the receipt will not have to be reduced. 

If however the gift given to the donor is significant, then the amount of the donation that appears on the official donation receipt will have to be reduced by the value of the consideration. Again, in legalese, this is called "split receipting." 

Note: Even if the gift the Charity is giving to the donor was obtained at no cost to the Charity, the Charity must still determine the Fair Market Value of the gift. 

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