Types of registered charities (designations)

There are three types of registered charities. Every registered charity is designated as a:

The designation a charity receives depends on its structure, its source of funding, and its mode of operation. A registered charity is notified of its designation by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) when it receives a Notice of Registration. All registered charities, regardless of their designation, can issue official donation receipts for income tax purposes.

If a charity has only one director, trustee, or other official, it will automatically be designated as a private foundation upon registration. To be designated as a charitable organization or public foundation, more than half of the directors, trustees, or other officials must be at arm's length. If there is only one, this is not possible.

To determine the designation of a registered charity, the CRA applies the following criteria:

Charitable organization

Public foundation

Private foundation

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