A Charitable Guide to Planned Giving

A "Get-To-It" Guide by DeWayne Osborn CPA, CGA, CFP®

Getting Started

1.3 - Other factors


There are over 83,000 registered charities in Canada. Each of them can issue tax receipts for gifts (donations) from individuals or companies, and tax receipts are absolutely critical to the planned giving process. Tax receipts generate tax savings. However, there are more benefits to planned giving than just tax savings.

Benefits of Planned Giving:

The benefits of a planned gift can be both financial and emotional. Emotional benefits include things such as feeling good about making the gift and seeing the positive results that one's gift can make for society. The financial benefits are typically in the form of tax relief.

Many people think that planned gifts are made at death. While it is true that bequests make up the majority of planned gifts, many planned gifts strategies are employed while the donor is alive. Some of the more common strategies for making inter-vivos planned gifts will be discussed in later sections of this website.

Uniqueness of Planned Gifts:

Planned gifts can be very different from other charitable gifts. For instance, a planned gift can be (and often is) received without the charity knowing anything about it. Normally, the charity solicits a gift through a direct mail campaign or special event. However, many planned gifts are structured with the help of financial advisors (lawyers, accountants, and financial planners) with very little or no input or assistance from the charity.

Another distinguishing feature of a planned gift is that it may be made with non-cash Assets. Once again, donors do not normally give a piece of land in response to a direct mail solicitation. The gifting of non-cash assets brings with it tax problems that financial advisors are comfortable handling. However, many charities are ill prepared to deal with the tax issues that arise from non-cash gifts. Conversely, many advisors are reluctant to suggest to their clients how to make planned gifts to charity because they are uncomfortable with how the rules for such donations work.

Hence, planned giving has been described as the marriage (happy or not) of the financial, for-profit community with charitable (not-for-profit) one.

Keywords: benefits, charities, inter vivos, inter-vivos, non cash, non-cash, planned giving, tax receipts