Charitable donations and your taxes – answering all your questions.

27 novembre 2023

Canadians are overall, big on donating to charity. In fact, the latest statistics show that Canadians donate close to $10.6 billion annually. On average, Canadians are donating $340 per year to the charity of their choice. If you’re one of these Canadians, you might be pleased to know that your gifts to registered charities in excess of $200 will qualify for a combined federal/provincial tax credit of up to 54% depending on your province and income level.

Do all charities qualify for the charitable donations tax credit?

If an organization asks for a donation, you might want to check with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to ensure they are a registered charity. The CRA has an ongoing list of charities and associations that qualify. If you donate to an organization that’s not recognized by the CRA, you won’t be able to claim the donation.

A registered charity will provide an official donation receipt, which includes their official registration number.

The charitable donations tax credit can be claimed beyond just traditional charities. You can actually get a tax refund for donating to other types of organizations, such as:

  • Canadian amateur athletic associations
  • Registered journalism organizations
  • Some registered foreign charities (as long as the Government of Canada has previously made a gift to that charity)
  • Low-cost housing corporations for the aged
  • Municipal or public bodies performing a function of government in Canada
  • Municipalities
  • Universities outside Canada (but only if approved by the government)

What if a charity is no longer registered?

As long as the charity was registered at the time you made your donation and you have your receipt, you’ll still receive your tax credit. The CRA’s website shows if a charity was registered and when, so simply looking on their website will confirm for you if you can claim your tax credit.

Can all Canadians receive the charitable donations tax credit?

Yes, all Canadians can claim the charitable donations tax credit, as long as they have an official donation receipt. It’s important to note that charities don’t have to issue tax receipts for donations under $20.

Do charities send the CRA my tax receipt?

The CRA won’t have a list of the charitable contributions you’ve made throughout the year. It’s on you to save those receipts so you can file them and get the charitable donation tax credit.

Make sure to keep a record of which ones you’ve claimed and which ones you haven’t claimed so you don’t double file.

How much can I write off on taxes for charitable donations?

If you’re looking for tax deductible donations, the sky is the limit when it comes to charity tax deductions. You can claim eligible amounts of gifts to a limit of 75% of your net income on your tax return. So, if your net income was $55,000 this year, you could claim up to $41,250.

For gifts of certified cultural property or ecologically sensitive land, you may be able to claim up to 100% of your net income. Canadians can benefit from two different charitable tax credit rates, one from the federal government and one from the provincial/ territorial governments.

So, just how much of your charitable donation is tax deductible?


If you’re claiming charitable donations under $200, the federal tax credit rate is 15%, meaning, if you’re claiming $200 in charitable donations, you’ll receive a refund of $30. If you’re claiming more than $200, anything over your initial $200 is at a tax rate of 29%. However, if your income puts you in the top tax bracket of 33%, then your tax rate will be 33% for charitable donations over $200.

Let’s say you donated $500 in total this past calendar year. Your first $200 would be eligible for 15% refund (15% x $200 = $30), and your remaining $300 would be eligible for 29% refund (29% x $300 = $87) for a total of $117.

If you earn in the top tax bracket, being taxed at 33%, then this equation would look like this:

(15% x your first $200 donated = $30) plus (33% x the remaining amount of $300 donated = $99) for a total of $129.


Each province has their own charitable donations tax deduction rate, which you can see below. All provinces and territories have one rate for amounts up to $200 and another rate for amounts over $200 that vary by province/territory. Provincial tax credit rates fluctuate between 19-75%.

Donations $200 or lessDonations over $200Donations over $200
ProvinceFederal rate: 15%Federal rate: 29%Federal rate: 33%
British Columbia20.06%45.8%49.8%
New Brunswick24.4%46.95%50.95%
Newfoundland & Labrador23.7%50.8%54.8%
Nova Scotia23.79%50%54%
Northwest Territories20.9%43.05%47.05%
Prince Edward Island24.8%45.7%49.7%

Do you get money back on taxes for donating to charity?

Charitable donations tax deductions are what are known as non-refundable tax credits. This means the refund goes towards helping you to lower your tax payable. So, once all your credits and benefits are calculated, if you find that you owe the government more money in taxes (or, your tax payable), non-refundable tax credits are there to help lower the amount you owe. With the above example’s refund of $117, you wouldn’t get a cheque from the CRA for $117, but rather, if you owed the CRA $300 for example, that non-refundable amount would help you to lower your tax payable to $183.

Do I have to claim the charitable donations tax credit in the same tax year of my gift?

No, in fact, you can claim any unclaimed charitable contributions from the previous 5 years.

What documents do I need to claim charitable donations tax credit?

To claim the tax credit for charitable donations, you need the official donation receipt. The receipt should have your name on it, or if you’re filing your spouse or common law partner’s receipt, it should have their name on it. It’s also recommended that you keep them in your files for five years after filing in case the CRA wants to follow up. If you lose your charitable receipt, the charity should be able to give you a replacement receipt. You simply need to input the total charitable contribution amount to your tax return.

Can I get a receipt for time I’ve volunteered to a registered charity or organization?

No, volunteer work does not qualify for a tax deduction. Only monetary or certain gift donations qualify.

What tax form do I need in order to claim the charitable donation tax credit?

The credit is calculated on the Schedule 9 section of the federal tax form. The federal credit is claimed at Line 34900 of the T1 form, and the provincial credit is claimed at Line 58969 of the provincial Form 428.

H&R Block Tax Expert Pro Tip:

You can claim your charitable donations for up to 5 years. It might be beneficial to accumulate multiple years' worth and file them together.

The reason for this is that the first $200 claimed both federally and provincially yields a lower tax rate than donations over $200. It’s important to note that this isn’t the case for Alberta, which now offers a rate of 75% on donations under $200. But, for the other provinces and territories, this is still the case. So, if on average you donate $100 annually to charity, filing 5 years of charitable donations at once will give you a greater return. Here’s the math for the federal tax credit:

  1. Claiming $100 per year for 5 years, or (15% x $100) + (15% x $100) + (15% x $100) + (15% x $100) +(15% x $100) = $75.

  2. Claiming $500 accumulated over 5 years at one time, or (15% x $200) + (29% x $300) = $117.

Similarly, spouses or common law partners can pool their donations to yield a big refund, as long as the other partner didn’t claim it on their taxes. This has the potential to yield a bigger return overall, depending on the amounts being claimed and other factors. Remember, each donation can only be claimed once.

H&R Block Tax Experts are here to help you maximize your credits and benefits. Choose from one of four convenient ways to file: File in an Office, Drop-off at an Office, Remote Tax Expert, or Do It Yourself Tax Software.

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