Charitable receipts

January 3rd, 2012

As charities begin to finalize their year end, and as they issue their final charity receipts for 2011, there are a few important things they need to watch for.   Last month, in it’s December 2011 charity newsletter, the Canada Revenue Agency provided a few reminders to charities.  These reminders are worth recording here.  The following is an excerpt from the Charities Connection Newsletter.

The season of giving – Things to remember when issuing official donation receipts

During the holiday season and as the calendar year comes to a close, many charities are issuing more official donation receipts than usual. Here are a few important things every charity should consider before it issues a receipt:

  • When was the gift received? A charity can only issue a receipt for the 2011 tax year if the donation was received in 2011. If the postmark on the envelope containing the donor’s payment is dated on or before December 31, 2011, this is also acceptable.
  • What information needs to be on a receipt? Remember, there are different requirements for receipts issued for cash gifts, and for non-cash gifts (gifts-in-kind). For a complete list of these requirements see What information must appear on an official donation receipt? For cash donations, a registered charity may issue one cumulative receipt for the entire calendar year. See our Web pages for a sample official donation receipt.
  • What should a charity look out for? Charities must not be involved in schemes or arrangements that require them to write donation receipts for an amount greater than the value of the gift received. Be aware of fundraising and donation schemes that appear too good to be true.
  • Can a charity lend its registration number to another organization? Under no circumstances should a registered charity issue donation receipts on behalf of another organization, or lend its registration number to another organization for receipting purposes. A registered charity is responsible for all receipts issued under its name and registration number. It must be able to account for the corresponding donations on its annual information return and in its books and records.
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CRA – More scare tactics

December 16th, 2011

As I wrote in a previous post, from time to time the CRA sends out a mass mailing of letters to tens of thousands of taxpayers.  This letter basically asks you to review your records to ensure that you filed an accurate tax return, and if you feel you may have made an error, please correct it.

It is of course very important to file accurate tax returns, but if you receive this letter don’t assume that you will automatically be audited.  They are mailing out 47,000 letters over the next two months.  In 2010 and 2011 they sent out 37,000 and 29,000 letters respectively.

Personally I consider this letter to be more of an educational type letter.  This type of communication will obviously grab the recipient’s attention, and make them think twice before making a dubious claim on their next tax return.  I definitely think that is why they mail these letters out at the start of the tax season.  The recipient is going to read it, and in a month or two when he’s filing his tax return he’s going to be thinking about the chances of an audit 🙂

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I recently talked about the CPP changes that are coming in 2012. I want to stress again that these are important changes.  Whether you are an employee or an employer, you need to take the time to read about these changes.

Canada Revenue Agency thinks they are important too…. so they are holding a webinar on December 7.  Consider joining the webinar if you have any questions on this topic.  If you can’t make it, you can view the slides here:

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Free budgeting tool

November 25th, 2011

Hate keeping track of your personal finances?  What you need to do is make it easy.  Here’s a great personal record keeping tool you have have already heard of. links into your bank account and automatically downloads and categorizes your transactions for you.

It makes keeping track of your personal finances almost fun!

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