Religious charities - Exemption

Policy commentary

Release date
March 9, 2000 (Revised October 17, 2003)

Reference number


Religious charities - Exemption from filling portions of Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return


To identify the conditions under which religious charities created after December 31, 1977, are exempted from filling some portions of the T3010.


Religious charities:  A religious charity is a religious community or a religious order.


1. The existing exemption from filling the publicly-accessible portions of Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return applies to religious charities or charities associated to a religious charity pursuant to subsection 149.1(7) of the Income Tax Act during the applicable fiscal period that:

2. The exemption from filing the publicly accessible portion of the annual information return has persisted to this day, since it was originally granted in the mid-1970s. When the content of the annual information return was reviewed and re-designed in the years 1990-1995, religious charities were assured by the Canada Revenue Agency that the exemption would continue to apply.

3. Since 1977, religious charities to which the exemption applied, have had to adapt their own corporate structure to changing circumstances. Some of them have been discontinued. Others have merged together for efficiency's sake. Others still have spawned new organizations to further carry out some of their specific charitable work or for administrative purposes.

4. There are competing policy interests at stake, namely (1) ensuring that the public is informed of charities generally because it supports them through donations and the tax expenditure, and (2) protecting the information of organizations that are essentially private bodies that do not use the tax-assisted donation scheme and therefore, from a tax perspective, correspond more closely to non-profit organizations rather than to registered charities.

5. There is a legitimate interest in maintaining the exemption for new religious charities as long as they are logical outgrowths of formerly exempted organizations. This enables the charities in question to evolve in a way appropriate to their needs.

6. The policy does not extend to associated charities that were not in existence prior to 1977, unless they qualify in their own right, under paragraph 5 above.

7. As for the original exemption, newly-created charities should obviously not issue official donation receipts from the date of their registration on; they should not receive gifts directly or indirectly from registered charities, associated or not, that issue official donation receipts.


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