More and more people want to donate money that will provide long-term economic benefits to their community. If this is your case, a well-designed tax strategy could allow you to support a cause you care about without penalizing your heirs.
Individuals can make charitable donations:
- while they are alive (living trust)
- upon their death (bequest)
In both cases, donors can make donations to any registered charitable organization.
Make donations during your lifetime
Making donations during your lifetime can be very advantageous for both donors and beneficiaries. But donors must first properly evaluate how much they will need to live on to avoid ending up in a financially precarious situation. The surplus can then be distributed in accordance with certain tax rules.
Many people start donating assets during their life by, for example, selling their home and moving to a smaller residence and donating the proceeds to a charitable organization.
Donating your life insurance policy
What can you do with a life insurance policy you no longer need?
Instead of canceling it, you can make a charitable donation through a life insurance policy and choose to take advantage of a tax reduction in one of the following ways:
- During your lifetime, through premium payments; in this case, the charity must the policyholder and the beneficiary.
- At your death, by bequeathing the insurance amount to the charity or designating the charity as the beneficiary of the policy.
Donating to a charitable organization
If you intent to make a donation to a charitable organization, it’s best to plan ahead. You’ll have a hard time finding a charity that will refuse cash donations. But when it comes to assets, it’s best to advise the organization beforehand to make sure they will be accepted.
What is a charitable organization?
Charitable organizations must be registered with the government to be authorized to issue tax receipts for donations.
Charitable organizations can be:
- private foundations
- public foundations
Tax credits for charitable donations
Individuals who make donations are entitled to tax credits. The amount of donations, as well as donations carried forward for 5 years preceding the death are not subject to any limit in the year of death. There is no limit on the unclaimed amount in the year of death or the year preceding death.
Donating money or property
You can donate:
- publicly traded stocks
- property (home, cottage, business, land, etc.)
- registered (RRSP, RRIF) and non-registered investments
- life insurance policies
- collections, jewellery, art