Questions and answers about operating a registered charity

Information return

When is the registered charity information return due?

A charity must file a complete Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return every year within six months of its fiscal year-end. For example, the return for a December 31 fiscal year-end is due on or before June 30 of the following year.

Do the financial statements included with the T3010 return need to be audited?

No. The Canada Revenue Agency doesn’t ask that a charity's financial statements be audited. However, other government authorities, a charity’s head body, or its funding bodies may want audited statements.

What address should a completed T3010 return be mailed to?

Charities Directorate
Canada Revenue Agency
Ottawa ON K1A 0L5

Mailing or bringing the return to another Canada Revenue Agency location, such as a tax services office, may result in processing delays.


Can a charity change its activities after it is registered?
How can a charity wrap up its operations?

The charity can request voluntary revocation of its registration. A charity that plans to merge, amalgamate, or consolidate with another organization should contact the Charities Directorate at 1 800-267-2384 before doing so.

What can a charity do if it has not met its charitable spending requirement (disbursement quota)?

A spending shortfall can be covered by using spending excesses from any of the previous five fiscal years. If no excesses are available, the charity can try to spend enough in the following year to create an excess that will cover the shortfall. If these options do not resolve the shortfall, the charity may be able to ask for a disbursement quota reduction.

Does a charity have payroll deduction and GST/HST obligations?

Charities that have employees generally have payroll deduction obligations. Some charities are required to register for GST/HST purposes, and there is a GST/HST rebate available to registered charities. For more information, go to Payroll and GST/HST checklist.

Can a charity lend its registration number to another organization?

No. Under no circumstance should the registration number be lent to another organization. A charity is responsible for all tax receipts issued under its name and number and must account for the corresponding donations on its annual information return. A charity’s registered status could be revoked if it lends its registration number to another organization.

How many meetings must the board of a charity hold during the year?

The Income Tax Act does not address the issue of the number of meetings required during the year. These may well be regulated by the by-laws of an individual charity and may also be affected by provincial or territorial regulations.

Directors have a responsibility to ensure that a charity is operated in the public interest. They have a duty of diligence that requires them to be knowledgeable about the work of the charity, and to ensure that the charity and its assets are properly cared for. One way they can do this is to make sure that the board of directors holds meetings on a regular basis.

Gifting and receipting

What are qualified donees?

Qualified donees are organizations that can issue official donation receipts for gifts they receive from individuals and corporations. For example, a registered charity is a qualified donee. Registered charities can make gifts only to other qualified donees.

Who is authorized to sign official donation receipts?

A charity is responsible for designating who can sign its official donation receipts. The charity should keep a record of who has been authorized and for what periods of time.

How can a charity find out if an organization is registered before gifting to it?

Search the List of charities and other qualified donees or call the Charities Directorate at 1-800-267-2384.

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