Registered journalism organization
A qualified Canadian journalism organization (QCJO) may apply to the Minister of National Revenue to become a registered journalism organization (RJO), which is a qualified donee. An RJO is exempt from tax and can issue donation receipts for gifts that it receives. A registered charity can also make a gift to an RJO. This measure will be in effect as of January 1, 2020.
Criteria to become an RJO
An RJO is a corporation or trust that meets the following conditions:
- it is a QCJO;
- it is constituted and operated exclusively for journalism-related purposes;
- any business activities it carries on are related to its purposes;
- its board of directors or trustees operate at arm's length from each other;
- it is not controlled, either directly or indirectly in any manner whatsoever, by a person or group of persons that do not deal with each other at arm's length;
- generally, in any one taxation year, it cannot accept gifts from any one source that represent more than 20% of its total revenues (including donations); and
- no part of its income is payable to, or otherwise available for the personal benefit of, a proprietor, member, shareholder, director, trustee, settlor or like individual.
For more information on RJO criteria, go to Guidance on income tax measures to support journalism.
Limitation on amounts an RJO may receive
In any given taxation year, an RJO may not receive gifts from any one source that represent more than 20% of its total revenues (including donations) for the year, other than a gift:
- made by way of bequest;
- made within 12 months after the organization is first registered; or
- approved on a case-by-case basis by the Minister of National Revenue.
Obligations of an RJO
An RJO is required to comply with its other obligations as a qualified donee under the Income Tax Act. This includes:
- ensuring that it, at all times, meets the requirements for registration;
- keeping reliable and complete books and records, and providing them to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) upon request;
- issuing complete and accurate donation receipts; and
- filing an annual information return and public information return.
Apply for RJO status
A QCJO may apply to the Minister of National Revenue for registration as an RJO using form T624, Application to Register a Journalism Organization Under the Income Tax Act.
If you have questions about becoming an RJO, please call the Charities client service line at 1-800-267-2384.
Revoking RJO registration
Where an RJO no longer meets the requirements for registration as a qualified donee, the Minister of National Revenue may revoke its registration.
Where the Minister of National Revenue proposes to revoke the registration of an RJO, the RJO may file an objection with the Appeals Branch of the CRA. In the event that it disagrees with the decision of the Appeals Branch, it has the right to appeal the decision to the Federal Court of Appeal.
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