Who is the true donor of this gift?


This video will explain how to determine the true donor of a gift and how to issue the corresponding donation receipt.

The true donor is the individual or organization that made the donation to your charity. The official donation receipt you issue has to be in the name of the true donor. If you do not know who the true donor is, you cannot issue an official donation receipt.

For example, a cheque or credit card clearly shows the name of the individual or organization making the gift. This is usually enough evidence for you to safely name the true donor and issue a donation receipt in the name of that individual or organization.

Generally, a donation receipt can only name one true donor. The exception to this is when you receive a cheque from a joint account. If the cheque shows the names of both people, the receipt you issue can be in one name or in both names. It does not matter which person signed the cheque however only one person will be able to claim the charitable donation tax credit for this donation.  

A corporation may collect donations from its employees and issue a cheque to your charity for the total amount it collected. Although the corporation’s name is on the cheque, the true donors are the employees who donated the funds. So, you cannot issue the corporation a donation receipt.

But if the same corporation gives you a list of the employees who donated and the amount of each gift, you can issue each employee a donation receipt for the amount they donated.

The corporation will need to give you the full names and addresses of the employees for the official donation receipts.

Whenever a donor asks you to issue a donation receipt in another person’s name, you should ask for a written declaration naming that other person as the true donor. Without a document saying who the true donor is, you cannot issue a donation receipt.

A donor can also donate anonymously to your charity. To do this, the donor can hire an agent to make a gift for them. The agent holds the funds in trust and directs them to your charity. You issue the donation receipt to the agent in trust, and then the agent gives the donation receipt to the anonymous donor.


When you receive cash donations, identify the true donor to issue the donation receipt. Ask yourself: “Is it an individual or a corporation?”

Remember: If you are not sure who the true donor is, you cannot issue a donation receipt.

For more examples about true donors, check out our new graphic educational tool on our website.

(The Charities and giving website address appears on the screen: Canada.ca/taxes)

(Icons appear on the screen with the following words beside each related icons: “What’s New” electronic list, Twitter account: @CanRevAgency and the YouTube Channel CanRevAgency)

(Hashtag CRA charities appears on the screen)

(A Canadian Flag emblem, the Canada Revenue Agency and Agence du revenu du Canada appear on the screen)

(Screen shows a copyright emblem and the wording Her Majesty, the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Canada Revenue Agency, 2017)

(The last screen shows the wording CANADA and an emblem of the Canadian flag)


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