In order to issue charitable receipts for tax purposes, charities must be registered with the CRA. In most cases, your church will already be registered. If your church has yet to be registered with CRA, contact Church Development at the Ministry Centre for guidance.
Legally there is no mandatory date by which an annual charity receipt must be issued. However, to help individuals file income tax returns on a timely basis, it is recommended that your church issue receipts no later than the end of February of the year following the year in which the donation was made. For Quebec churches, duplicate charitable receipts must be provided, because Quebec residents must file separate provincial and federal income tax returns. Tax receipts can be ordered in small booklets and each receipt is in triplicate. Photocopies are not accepted. The first two copies are for the donor and third copy is for the local church records.
Official tax receipts issued by the church for donations received must contain all of the following required information:
- A statement that it is an official receipt for income tax purposes
- The name and address of the Church that is on file with CRA
- The charity registration number
- The serial (sequential) number of the receipt
- The place where the receipt was issued
- The day or year the donation was received
- The date the receipt was issued if different from the date of the donation
- The full name and address of the donor
- The value and description of any advantage received by the donor
- The eligible amount of the gift
- The signature of a person authorized by the Church to acknowledge donations
- The name and website address of Canada Revenue Agency
- If the date or amount is altered, the receipt becomes invalid. It is therefore necessary to ensure that all receipts issued are issued in accordance with CRA’s guidelines and regulations as the church could be subject to financial penalties or revocation of its registered charity status for failure to comply in the event of an audit.
- Replacement/duplicate receipts must be clearly identified.
For non-cash gifts, the following additional information is required:
- The date on which the donation was received if not already indicated
- A brief description of the property transferred to the Church
- The name and address of the appraiser if the property was appraised
- The deemed fair market value of the property in place of the gift above
Note: For non-cash gifts, the eligible amount of the gift can’t exceed the deemed fair market value of the item.
The Church cannot issue receipts for:
- Contributions of services provided to the Church. Services do not qualify as gifts
- On behalf of another organization or charity
- In a name other than the name of the true donor
Note: individuals who provide a service may invoice the church which is paid by cheque, and if the individual freely donates back the amount to the church, they can be receipted for the donation.
Gifts of securities (e.g. stocks or mutual funds) require additional information such as the date on which the securities were received by the church and name of the security received and the number of securities received by the church. The FMCiC has brokerage facilities that can process these transactions on your church’s behalf. Contact the Director of Administrative Services for more information.
Gifts in kind are non-monetary gifts such as a life insurance policy, property, vehicle, furniture, computer, etc. Gifts in kind must be carefully considered and handled properly. The first consideration is whether or not the church wants or needs the item being donated. Does it have value to the church and can it be effectively used in the church’s ministry. The second important consideration is the value of the gift in kind. It is the responsibility of the charity, i.e. the church, to determine the fair market value of the gift in kind for purposes of issuing the tax receipt. In addition to the normal information required on the tax receipt, a description of the property and the name and address of the appraiser (if any) is required.