Question of the month from the Garvie Reading Room:
I was recently asked to donate to an organization that I’ve never heard of before. How can I find out more about this charity and whether I can get an income tax receipt for my donation?
In Canada, organizations can apply to the Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for charitable status. As a “registered charity” they must meet specific criteria and follow a standard set of rules, and then they are allowed to issue official donation receipts for income tax purposes. Check our Charity Central website for some FAQs about registered charities or this Fact Sheet about the differences between non-profits and registered charities.
The Charities Directorate provides some helpful information for donors. You can search their Charities Listings to find out if an organization is a registered charity, and to see a charity’s information return (T3010) to learn about their finances and activities. Their website also provides an array of information for donors including videocasts, questions and answers, and a tax credit calculator. And of course, these days many charities also have their own websites which may give you a window into their operations.