As the temperature drops, the leaves change colour and the snow returns, we are provided with plenty of reminders that another year is rapidly coming to an end and the holiday season is quickly approaching. Not only does that mean time for family and friends, but it also provides an opportunity for people to consider how they can make a difference for their favourite causes and charities.
Many charities start to see an influx of gifts and donations as the season of giving picks up through to the end of the year. Caring Canadians use this time of year to provide support to the causes that mean the most to them and to help make our community a better place for all. And knowing there are tax credits from making a charitable donation is a bonus for your good deed.
Keep in mind, while December 31st is technically the final day to make a gift to claim on your 2017 personal tax return, it is not too soon to get started, even for straightforward gifts of cash since some organizations close over the holidays! If you are running close to the wire, an online gift before the end of December or a gift mailed with a Canada Post date stamp of 2017 on the envelope can lead to a 2017 donation receipt. If you are mailing, it is worth the time to go into a postal outlet and have them manually hand stamp the envelope. Otherwise the automated Canada Post date stamp may be in January even if the donation was put in the box before the end of the year.
One of the more common donations some charities receive at this time of the year are in-kind gifts of publicly traded securities (shares or mutual funds). There are many benefits for donating securities including not having to pay tax on capital gains on the securities you donate, but the process is not always as easy as writing a cheque or donating cash.
If you are considering this type of gift, you should understand the transfer process will take at least a few days to complete and unforeseen delays, though not common, could make an in-kind transfer stretch even longer than anticipated. Gifts of mutual funds generally take longer than gifts of shares. It’s highly recommended that you not only speak to your financial advisor about this type of gift, but also plan to initiate your donation before the beginning of December to ensure your gift will take place well in advance of the New Year even if there are unexpected hiccups.
Your charity of choice would love to talk to you about how you’d like to support the work they do during the season of giving and we encourage you to reach out to the organization as not every charity may be equipped to accept the type of gift you want to provide. Having the discussion beforehand will allow the organization to find the best way to ensure your generosity will make a difference to the work you wish to support.
This can also be a great time of year to teach your children or others in your family the importance of giving through philanthropy or volunteerism. As we are well aware, there are a number of charities committed to helping less fortunate people to enjoy the holiday season and a variety of ways that you and your loved ones can get involved. Delivering toys, hot meals or holiday hampers are just some of the many ways the season of giving can extend throughout our community.
If there is any way Edmonton Community Foundation can assist you during this time of the year, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your thoughts and ideas.