Canadians contribute in many ways to charitable organizations. The data set on charitable donors provides information on tax filers who claimed a tax credit for charitable donations on their income tax return in the reference year. These data may include donations that might be denied by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) after an audit. To find out more about why donations might be denied (i.e. tax shelter gifting arrangements, false receipting) please go to the Canada Revenue Agency website.
Persons making charitable donations, but not reporting them on their personal tax return are not included in this data set. These include donations for which no receipt was provided and donations for which the receipt was lost. No estimate of such donations is included in these data.
Only donations made to approved organizations are allowable as deductions in the tax system. Donations are eligible if made to Canadian registered charities and Canadian amateur athletic associations. They are also eligible if made to: prescribed universities outside Canada; certain tax exempt housing organizations in Canada; Canadian municipalities; the United Nations; and certain charities outside Canada to which the Government of Canada has made a gift.
It is possible to carry donations forward for up to five years after the year in which they were made. In the reference year, it is possible to claim donations made in any of the previous five years, as long as they were not already claimed in a prior year. The donations made in the reference year could be claimed the same year, or could be carried forward to any of the next five years. According to tax laws, tax filers are permitted to claim both their donations and those made by their spouses to get better tax benefits. Consequently, the number of persons who made charitable donations may be higher than the number who claimed tax credits.
A change was introduced in the 2016 tax year for tax filers with a taxable income over $200,000 (amount to be adjusted annually) who made charitable donations of over $200 to a recognized charity (as outlined above). In 2019, tax filers qualify for the following charitable donation tax credit:
- 15% of their donations up to $200;
- 333% of lesser of (1) their donations over $200, and (2) their taxable income over $210,371; and
- 29% of their donation over $200 not qualifying for the 33% tax credit rate.
Tax filers who contributed to a recognized charity with a taxable income of $210,371 or under continue to calculate their credit at 15% of donations up to $200 plus 29% of their donations over $200.
From 2013 to 2017, in addition to the regular tax credits for donations, another tax credit was available in order to encourage donations from tax filers who had not previously made any donation. This credit ended in 2017.