Guides & Resources

Tax Receipting and the Recent Canada Post Delays

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At this time of year, it is important for registered charities to revisit their understanding of the types of gifts that can be issued a receipt under Canada's Income Tax Act; the role that the fiscal year end has in issuing receipts and how a postal delay can impact the rules of receipting.

The good news is that Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has all of the information in one accessible location to get you started.  Here, you can get the tools to help you answer the following basic questions:

  1. Is the donation a gift?
  2. Who is the donor?
  3. What is the eligible amount of the gift for receipting purposes?
  4. What is the date of the donation?

Tax Receipting and the Recent Canada Post Delays

This year, the timing or date of the donation may require particular attention due to recent job action by Canada Post.  It is important to note that CRA considers the donation date as the date that the gift is made. The donation date may not be the date of physical delivery. When a charity receives a donation by mail, the Canada Revenue Agency considers the date of donation to be the date of the postmark on the envelope. The charity should keep the stamped envelope as part of its books and records.

If donors are concerned about the postmark being legible—or whether it will be marked at all—encourage your donors to go to a post office to have the post mark stamped. As other alternatives, a charity can also encourage online giving or use a service such as CanadaHelps to host a giving page.

Changing Your Fiscal Year End

The Canada Revenue Agency has released a new graphic educational tool: Changing your fiscal year end (FYE) for charities. A registered charity must get permission from the Charities Directorate before it can change its fiscal year-end, since such a change affects the charity's filing obligations. The request for permission must be made in writing and include particular information.

More questions?

Still not finding the answers to your receipting questions? Check CRA's page on "Questions and answers about gifting and receipting" or this "Checklist for issuing complete and accurate donation receipts."

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