When it comes to charitable giving, what is best for you?
Give Online/Cash Donation
This is the simplest type of donation. But before dropping that cheque in the mail, you may wish to consider alternative giving strategies that can increase the benefits of the donation for you, your charity and your estate.
Online donations are processed without charge by:
Gifts in Kind
These are donations of property including artwork, securities and real estate. Tax credits for ‘gifts in kind’ donations are determined by the fair market value of the gift at the time of the donation. However, you must also report any resulting capital gain or loss on the disposition of that property.
Publicly listed securities. To get an added tax advantage, you may donate securities listed on specific stock exchanges, mutual funds and segregated funds instead of cash. Under a recent change to the Income Tax Act, the effective taxable capital gain from the disposal of the security will be zero instead of one-half.
Bequests of life insurance or registered plans
You can donate the proceeds upon death from a life insurance policy, RRSP, RRIF or TFSA by naming the charity as the beneficiary, or by naming the estate as the beneficiary and naming the charity in the will to receive the proceeds. Such charitable gifts are treated as if they were made in the year of your death and are eligible in determining the charitable donation tax credit on your final tax return or the immediately preceding return.
Charitable Remainder Trusts
You make a gift to a charity during your lifetime yet continue to receive the income generated by the investments. Through an irrevocable inter vivo trust (known as a Charitable Remainder Trust), the charity you name is established as the capital beneficiary. However, the capital is not accessible to the charity during your lifetime. All interest and dividends earned by the trust are paid to you as taxable income. You receive a charitable receipt equal to the present value of the capital which the charity is expected to receive at the time of your death. The donation is removed from your estate and would not be subject to probate fees or claims by creditors.