Doing good and saving tax by giving to charity

You can help a charity of your choice by making charitable gifts as part of your estate planning. Planned gifts are deeply appreciated by the charities that receive them and can provide significant tax benefits to you and your estate.

Ways you can make a gift to a charity:

In your Will – You can make a cash gift of a specific amount or leave a share of the residue of your estate to a registered charity. The gift can be for general purposes or, for many charities, for a specific purpose within a charity that is particularly meaningful to you.  Your estate will get a tax receipt to claim the charitable tax credit for the donation which can help offset the taxes for your estate.

To see whether your favourite organization is registered with Canada Revenue Agency, see the list of charities at:

Life insurance – You can designate a registered charity as the beneficiary of some or all of a life insurance policy you own (your estate will get the charitable tax credit) or you can make the registered charity the owner of a life insurance policy you pay the premiums on (you claim the charitable tax credit during your lifetime).

Gift of Publicly Traded Securities – You can donate publicly traded securities directly to a registered charity immediately during your life or as part of your estate. When publicly traded shares are donated to a registered charity, you or your estate gets a charitable tax credit and there is also a capital gains exemption on the shares. This is a very tax efficient way to give.

RRSPs and RRIFs – You can designate a registered charity as the beneficiary of some or all of your RRSPs or RRIFs. The tax credits for the donation can help offset the tax that would be payable on the RRSP or RRIF.

Many larger charities have planned giving officers who are happy to speak to potential donors about how to make a gift that best meets the donor’s goals to assist the organization. You may want to work with your accountant as well as your lawyer on the best structure for the gift to meet your goals.