Registering the Not-for-Profit
Registration with Revenue Canada
In the case of a non-profit organization, 'registration' refers specifically to registration with Revenue Canada for income tax exemption. If your organization has no need for tax-exempt status — if it will not be accepting gifts and issuing official receipts for income tax purposes — then your organization does not need to register.
Qualifying for Registration
If your organization does need to register with Revenue Canada, first you'll need to demonstrate that your organization truly qualifies as a non-profit. There are two principle factors that disqualify your organization for registration:
- The income of the organization may not personally benefit any proprietor, member, shareholder, trustee or settlor of the organization. This does not prevent the organization from paying for services rendered.
- Your organization may not espouse, promote, support or seek to achieve any political agenda, party, purpose or doctrine, nor may your organization seek to persuade the public to adopt a particular social view or attempt to bring about or oppose changes in the law or government policy.
Advantages of Registration
There are two basic advantages to being a registered non-profit organization:
- The organization will be able to issue receipts for gifts received. These receipts reduce the tax payable for the individual donor, or, in the case of a corporation, reduce the taxable income.
- The second benefit is that, upon registration, the organization is exempt from paying income tax.
Obligations of a Registered Charity
Of course, along with the benefits, there are requirements that a non-profit organization must meet in order to maintain its registration. A non-profit must:
- Donate its resources to charity
- Continue to meet the requirements that qualified it in the first place
- File a Registered Charity Information Return within six months of each year-end