Standing Committee on Finance (FINA)

This week the House Standing Committee on Finance continued its study on Tax Incentives for Charitable Donations, and heard numerous testimonies from a variety of stakeholders including Imagine Canada, United Way Canada, the Canadian Taxpayers Association, the Canadian Association of Gift Planners, the Canadian Land Trust Alliance and numerous others. The Committee has been hearing from witnesses on suggestions for making the tax regime in Canada more favorable to donors and charities and how government policy can attract more donations to the charitable sector.  A main proposition that was considered is the ‘Stretch Tax Credit’ proposed by Imagine Canada, which would change current the tax incentive system by further rewarding donors who increased their donation amount annually with a bonus 10% tax credit.  By challenging Canadians to give more, charities hoped to further involve Canadians with charities. Other suggestions included removing the capital gains tax on shares of privately held companies that are donated to charity, as well as removing the tax on real estate donated to charities, both of which are not counted as gifts eligible for tax credits upon donation under the Income Tax Act.  Witnesses described the current funding squeeze being felt by Canadian charities, the shrinking and fatigued donor base in Canada, and the continuing need to get young people involved in the charitable sector. Meetings continue next week with more witnesses from the charitable sector scheduled to appear.