Municipal or public bodies performing a function of government in Canada
As a result of amendments to the Income Tax Act, which came into force on January 1, 2012, municipal and public bodies performing a function of government in Canada that want to be recognized as qualified donees must apply for registration and be added to a list maintained by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). As qualified donees, they will be eligible to issue official donation receipts and to receive gifts from registered charities.
The following includes the list of municipal and public bodies performing a function of government in Canada that are registered as qualified donees and provides information about their obligations as qualified donees under the Act.
- Application process
- Issuing official donation receipts
- Books and records
- Suspension and revocation
For background information about these requirements, go to Enhancing the regulatory regime for qualified donees.
For information on the interim measures put in place while the application process was being developed (prior to January 1, 2014), go to Interim measures.
To apply for registration, an applicant should send a letter stating that it is applying for registration as a qualified donee and should include an explanation of how it meets the requirements for a municipal or public body performing a function of government in Canada. The letter and supporting documentation should be sent to the Canada Revenue Agency's Charities Directorate at:
Canada Revenue Agency
Ottawa ON K1A 0L5
For detailed information about the criteria used by the CRA to determine whether an entity qualifies as a municipal or public body performing a function of government and the supporting documentation that must be submitted, go to Qualified Donee – Municipal or Public Body Performing a Function of Government in Canada.
In addition, the letter should be signed by at least one of the applicant's officials and also be accompanied by:
- a complete list of the applicant's current officials
- the address for the physical location of its books and records (a post office box or rural route number alone is not enough)
An applicant that meets the requirements will receive a letter confirming its registration and its name will be added to the publicly available list of qualified donees on the CRA website. If an applicant does not meet the requirements, it will receive a letter explaining why. An applicant that disagrees with the CRA's decision can file an objection with the Minister of National Revenue through the CRA Appeals Branch. For more information, go to Objections below.
Issuing official donation receipts
A municipal or public body performing a function of government in Canada that is a qualified donee can issue official donation receipts for income tax purposes. Before issuing an official donation receipt, the qualified donee must determine whether it has received a gift for the purposes of the Income Tax Act and the eligible amount of the gift. For more information, go to What is a gift? and see P113, Gifts and Income Tax.
The information on an official donation receipt must be legible and shown in a way that cannot be easily altered.
Receipts for cash gifts must have the following:
- a statement that it is an official receipt for income tax purposes
- the name and address of the qualified donee
- a unique serial number
- the location where the receipt was issued (city, town, municipality)
- the date the gift was received
- the date the receipt was issued
- the full name, including middle initial, and address of the donor
- the amount of the gift
- the amount and description of any advantage received by the donor
- the eligible amount of the gift
- the signature of an individual authorized by the qualified donee to acknowledge gifts
- the name and website address of the CRA
Receipts for non-cash gifts (gifts in kind) must also include:
- a brief description of the gift received by the qualified donee
- the name and address of the appraiser (if the gift was appraised)
The amount of a non-cash gift must be its fair market value at the time the gift was made.
Books and records
To maintain its qualified donee status, a municipal or public body must keep adequate books and records containing:
- information to allow the CRA to verify amounts that donors can claim for tax credits or deductions
- information to allow the CRA to confirm that the entity meets the requirements for qualified donee status under the Income Tax Act
- a duplicate of each official donation receipt issued, containing prescribed information for the gift received
Books and records must be kept at the Canadian address that the municipal or public body has on file with the CRA and must be provided to the CRA on request.
Books and records include, but are not limited to:
- financial statements
- source documents such as cancelled cheques and bank deposit slips
For more information about keeping proper books and records, including the types of records that should be kept, retention periods, and electronic records, go to Keeping Records.
Suspension and revocation
A municipal or public body may have its receipting privileges suspended or its qualified donee status revoked by the CRA if it does any of the following:
- fails to keep books and records supporting the official donation receipts it issues, or fails to provide these to the CRA on request
- is involved in the improper issuance of donation receipts
- accepts a gift or transfer of property on behalf of a suspended qualified donee
If a municipal or public body's receipting privileges are suspended, it cannot issue official donation receipts for one year. During that period, it is not eligible to receive gifts from registered charities. While under suspension, if offered a gift, the municipal or public body must inform the potential donor about its suspension as well as the fact that the donor cannot receive an official donation receipt at any time for a gift made during the suspension.
A municipal or public body's qualified donees status may also be revoked if it no longer meets the requirements for registration or if it asks for voluntary revocation.
A revoked municipal or public body no longer has qualified donee status.
An applicant that receives a notice refusing its registration for qualified donee status can object to the decision by filing a notice of objection.
A municipal or public body that is a qualified donee can also file an objection to a notice suspending its receipting privileges or proposing to revoke its registration.
The time limit for filing an objection is 90 days from the date on the notice. The objection must be in writing and provide the reasons for the objection and all the relevant facts.
For more information about this process, go to Objections and appeals.
- Income Tax Regulations, C.R.C. 1978, c. 945, ss. 3501(1.1): content of receipts
- Income Tax Act: tax exemption, 149(1)(c); definitions, 149.1(1); revocation, 149.1(4.3); refusal to register, 149.1(22); notice of revocation, 168(1); penalties, 188.2; objection, 168(4) and 189(8); and books and records, 230(2)
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