Where Do I Begin? - Video 3
Ever since you were a kid, you've seen charities in action. From car washes to bottle drives, to door-to-door canvassers, to concerts and events… and today you can even text a donation to many charities! Raising money for doing good is everywhere.
When you support charities, you help make a positive impact on the daily lives of all Canadians, including yours.
Not to mention that giving to certain organizations can have a positive impact on your personal bottom line.
We're the Canada Revenue Agency, and we've prepared this three part video series to talk to you about registered charities.
You know, giving to charity should be a little like buying anything else that has value… you need to look carefully and make some decisions about whether the charity your giving to is… well… a good buy!
Here are some of the questions people have asked us, the CRA, made exclusively available to you… and 32 million of your closest friends—along with our best answers.
Question 1: How can I be sure that I'm donating wisely?
Answer: By checking the charity out—before you give to it. Start by visiting our Web site, cra.gc.ca/donors, to verify an organization's registration status. Remember, although there are many worthwhile causes, only registered charities and other qualified donees can provide you with an official donation receipt for tax purposes.
Then learn about its activities and get a sense of its financial picture. Financial statements don't always give you the whole picture, though, so contact the charity directly if you have any questions.
Unfortunately, there are those few who would take advantage of your good will, so be a wise donor and:
- make cheques payable to the charity and not to an individual who is raising money for the charity or says they work there;
- make sure that you're on a secure site when donating online;
- think twice about making a donation if you feel inappropriate pressure or if there are signs of fraud; and
- beware of tax schemes that offer you an official donation receipt for more than you donate.
And remember—how much you give, and how often you give, is always up to you!
Question 2: Which donations can help reduce my taxes?
Answer: The key is to give to a registered charity—a charitable organization that has a CRA charitable registration number.
Canadian registered charities can provide you with an official donation receipt for your gifts of money, goods, land, or listed securities (like stocks) to help reduce your taxes.
Sometimes, charities hold fundraisers where you receive something in return for your donation, like a free meal, or a concert ticket. When this happens, the charity may still issue you an official donation receipt, but they must subtract the value of what they gave you when they issue you a receipt.
But buying a ticket for a raffle or lottery isn't making a donation so you won't get an official donation receipt at all.
If you have any questions about receipting, visit cra.gc.ca/donors.
Question 3: How do I claim a donation?
Answer: When you file your income tax and benefit return, there is a section in your return where you can claim your donations. Remember to keep supporting documents, like your official donation receipts, cancelled cheques, credit card slips, pledge forms, and stubs, in case your return is selected for review. And don't forget about the donations area on your provincial or territorial tax and credit form!
Question 4: Where do I go for help?
Answer:The "Giving to Charity: Information for Donors" Web page—cra.gc.ca/donors—has all kinds of information about tax savings, donation receipts, the regulation of charities, tax shelters, donating wisely, and avoiding fraud.
At the Canada Revenue Agency, we maintain a searchable online database called the CRA Charities Listing. This listing includes all registered charities in Canada, and this is where you will find information on any registered charity's status, financial picture, and activities.
Equipped with all the answers, you've now officially passed "Giving to Registered Charities 101". Now - when you give - give wisely.
This video is part of a series of three that explains the relationship between Canada's registered charities, the CRA, and you. If you think this series would be of interest to a friend or colleague, please send it to them. Thanks for watching!
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