Gifts out of inventory

Policy Commentary

Release date
March 29, 2000

Reference number


Official donation receipts - Whether gifts out of inventory qualify as charitable donations


To clarify the Directorate's policy regarding gifts out of inventory.


1. A registered charity can issue an official donation receipt to a business for the market value of a gift out of inventory.

2. The charity's responsibilities are: 

  • determining that it has in fact received a gift
  • determining the value of the gift

3. If the transaction results in a material benefit to the business, such as promotion or advertising, there has been no gift at law, and the charity should not issue an official donation receipt.

4. It is the Canada Revenue Agency's responsibility to ensure that businesses comply with the provisions of the Income Tax Act, not the charity's. If asked, the charity may advise a business of the tax implications as follows:

  • the business can, of course, deduct the cost of acquiring or producing the item given to the charity from its income
  • if the business does make a true gift out of inventory, it must add the fair market value of the item to its income per subparagraph 69(1)(b)(ii) of the Income Tax Act, and then claim a charitable tax deduction
  • if the business obtains a material benefit from the transaction, it can probably write off the cost as a business expense

5. The following example explains the tax consequences for a business where a gift is made out of inventory.

Calculation of taxable income
Sale of bread $50,000
Plus the value of bread donated to charity

+ 1,000

Income $51,000
Less production costs


Net income $25,500
Less tax deduction for donated bread

- 1,000

Taxable income $24,500
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