Applying for Charitable Status

Running a registered charity is a noble but sometimes challenging endeavour. In reviewing applications for charitable registration, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) considers whether the organization:

  • is appropriately set up and organized;
  • has exclusively charitable purposes (or objects);
  • will have activities that are charitable, are carried out in an allowable manner, and further one or more of its purposes; and
  • will deliver a public benefit.

These criteria must be met; otherwise your application for charitable status may be rejected by the CRA. Assess your concept with:

Forms and Required Details

The CRA application form requires detailed information about the organization's:

  • legal form and structure;
  • directors or trustees;
  • expected activities;
  • how it will achieve each of its charitable objects;
  • expected fundraising activities;
  • financial position;
  • income and expenses; and
  • supporting documentation for all of the above.


Form T2050, Application to Register a Charity Under the Income Tax Act

Guide T4063, Registering a Charity for Income Tax Purposes

Tip! Ensure this application is complete upon submission. The CRA will not make a decision about registration without all of the required information and incomplete information will result in a returned application.

Incorporation: Essential Steps

Here are the major steps to creating a corporation as your charity ("incorporate"):

  • choose a name for the corporation, and ensure that it is not in conflict with an existing name;
  • arrange for at least three arm's-length eligible directors to serve on the corporation's board;
  • determine other requirements: e.g. choose a fiscal year, select auditors, a head office location;
  • prepare corporate purposes (or objects);
  • draft bylaws and organizing resolutions for the corporation;
  • apply for corporate registration ("letters patent" or "articles of incorporation"); and
  • prepare and submit various corporate filings and pay various fees.

Require more detail? A charity lawyer should be able to assist you directly, or direct you to resources in your province so that you can understand these steps on your own.

Here are some links to resources that can help guide you through the registration process.

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