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Imagine Canada

Strong Charities. Strong Communities.

Federal budget – No Stretch Tax Credit, but some good news for charities

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ottawa – The federal budget tabled today contained a number of items of benefit to the charitable sector.  Unfortunately, it did not include the Stretch Tax Credit for Charitable Giving, the top priority identified by charities to encourage greater giving among Canadians.

“While we are pleased that the federal government is paying greater attention to the contributions of charities, obviously, we’re disappointed not to see the Stretch,” says Bruce MacDonald, President and CEO of Imagine Canada. “At a time when giving has been stagnant or even declining, the Stretch would have made it easier for all Canadians to give more to their favourite causes. Charities have been clear that achieving the Stretch is their top priority.”

“We know that the Stretch has been discussed at the most senior levels of government, where it enjoys a great deal of support,” says MacDonald. “We will continue to press for its adoption as the government’s fiscal situation improves.”

The budget did contain measures that will encourage investment in charities.

Regulations will be changed to allow charities, including private and public philanthropic foundations, to invest in limited partnerships. This will allow charities to enter into a broader range of partnerships promoting social benefit.  This budget measure could free up hundreds of millions of dollars a year in new capital for community investment.

“Philanthropic Foundations Canada and Community Foundations of Canada have taken the lead on this issue, with the full support of Imagine Canada,” says MacDonald. “Communities will be the big winners – with access to capital our biggest challenge, freeing up these investment dollars will make a significant and positive difference.”

Furthermore, the budget announced new tax measures to encourage the donation of real estate and private company shares to charities, bringing these donations in line with those of publicly-listed securities. The Budget indicates a federal investment of $265 million over the next four years in foregone revenues. Imagine Canada has been supportive of this initiative and welcomes today’s announcement.

“What’s really encouraging is that the federal government has implemented more of the policies identified during the Finance Committee’s 2012 hearings on charitable giving – and has tied its actions to that process,” added MacDonald. “At this point, the major outstanding issue from that report is the Stretch Tax Credit. Given the clear commitment in the Budget to work with Imagine Canada and individual charities to find ways to help the sector thrive, we look forward to making the Stretch a reality at the earliest opportunity.”

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Imagine Canada is a national charitable organization whose cause is Canada’s charities. Our three broad goals are to strengthen the sector’s collective voice, create opportunities to connect and learn from each other, and build the sector’s capacity to succeed.

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