Published In

Osgoode Hall Law Journal

Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



Taxation; Cheritable contributions


Tax recognition for charitable contributions in Canada takes the form of a deduction where the contribution is made by a corporation or for the purpose of gaining or producing income from a business, a nonrefundable credit where individuals make qualifying gifts to eligible recipients, and a reduction or exemption from capital gains tax on gifts to eligible recipients of qualifying cultural property, publicly traded securities, or ecologically sensitive land. This article reviews different rationales for the tax recognition of charitable contributions, concluding that the most persuasive rationale is to indirectly subsidize the quasi-public goods and services that charities provide and the social and cultural pluralism that they advance. The article goes on to evaluate current rules by reference to these rationales for tax recognition and makes specific proposals for reforming Canadian tax rules in light of this evaluation.

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