Donate to charity and save on your taxes

December 17, 2014

Often, you can get a tax break for charitable donations. Discover more about taxes and charitable donations, so you can do good and save money at the same time.

Donate to charity and save on your taxes


The benefit to your taxes from charitable donations actually comes in the form of a credit, rather than a deduction.

  • The difference is simply that while deductions reduce the total amount of income you can be taxed on, credits directly reduce the amount of actual tax you pay after deductions.
  • In the case of donations, the credit in general is for up to 75 per cent of your net income. In the final year of life this goes up to 100 per cent of net income.


In general, to be eligible for a tax credit, you have to be donating to a registered charity.

  • The donation has to be a gift to the charity, meaning that raffles, charity dinner receipts and the like are not generally eligible.
  • Until 2017, there is an additional credit available to first-time donors. It's called the First-Time Donor's Super Credit and it adds 25 per cent to the rate for up to $1000 of donated money.

Organizing and maximizing your credits

It's important to remember a few things when doing your taxes, with regard to donations.

  • You can actually combine charitable donations with your spouse to maximize the total credit received, depending on your respective incomes and deductions.
  • You can carry some donations forward to future years for up to five years.

Other types of charitable giving

There are a lot of other ways to give besides one-time donations.

  • There are credits available for donations of stock and other publicly traded securities.
  • More commonly, however, are in-kind donations. Over 90 per cent of people aged over 15 make some kind of donation. This can include physical goods like clothing, food, art or toys, or even property.

Claiming your charitable donations

To gain the benefit of tax credits, you have to keep the receipts and claim your donations on your tax forms.

  • There are different categories, as discussed, but they're generally calculated on Schedule 9 and then Schedule 1 of your federal tax form, as well as on the provincial tax form.
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