Donations of services

Contributions of services (for example, time, labour, skills) are not transfers of property and therefore are not gifts. No tax receipt may be issued for the contribution of services.

See 'Gifts of Services' (CRA, 2011)

However, if the charity pays for the services provided, the service provider may then donate that payment to the charity. In this case, this is considered to be a cash donation and the charity can issue a tax receipt to the donor. This is sometimes called a cheque swap.

Example 1: A charity maintains a roster of volunteers to drive seniors to various appointments, to shopping, etc. The volunteers’ time is a gift of services. Therefore no tax receipt can be issued.

Example 2: A gardener offers to voluntarily take care of a charity's lawn and garden. No tax receipt can be issued for the provision of this service. But if the gardener decides to invoice the charity at her normal prices for such work and the charity pays this invoice, the gardener may then choose to donate all or part of the payment to the charity. The charity can then issue a tax receipt for this cash donation. Of course, the gardener would have to declare the amount invoiced as income for tax purposes, so there is likely no net benefit to her in doing so.

Caution: For a donation to qualify for a tax receipt, there must be an actual cash donation. Funds must actually change hands.


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