Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
February 15, 2010
Charities push for charitable tax credit hike
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
OTTAWA - As the Lenten season turns the faithful to almsgiving, those who run charities hope the federal budget will bring tax relief to the almsgivers.
The federal government may be considering several various proposals to hike the charitable tax credit and make other changes that would sweeten the amount of tax relief for those who give to charities.
One of them is the Stretch Credit proposal by Imagine Canada that would see the charitable deduction on amounts over $200 and less than $10,000 raised from 29 to 39 per cent.
Cardus, a think tank that focuses on the renewal of civil society, has mounted a campaign to raise it to 42 per cent. It has sponsored www.29to42.ca to spread the word.
Both proposals have broad-based support, though the Stretch Canada proposal was recommended in a December report of the House of Commons finance committee.
"Supply is down in terms of the charitable sector when obviously demands for the needs charities provide is up," said Cardus research director Ray Pennings, creating what he called an urgent problem.
He's urging a more dramatic increase in the credit because even without the present economic crisis, Canada's culture of generosity is slowly eroding. A recent study commissioned by Cardus showed the portion of the population that does the bulk of giving and volunteering is declining by one to two per cent a year.
"Put that together with demographics and other factors and you are going to face a significant challenge in the charitable sector," he said.
In Canada, 29 per cent of the population provides 78 per cent of the charitable donations in Canada, he said. "We need to do something to bring attention to this problem because it affects the life of all Canadians from a long-term structural point of view."
Pennings said the increase needs to benefit the population doing most of the giving because they are the most likely to plow that money back into more giving.
USE YOUR ENVELOPES
Meanwhile, the Ottawa Archdiocese's financial administrator urges Catholics to carefully consider how they can maximize their charitable giving, including using the envelope system.
"Many people are still leaving loose money in the basket," said Jules Dagenais.
"At the end of the year you don't get a tax receipt for it."
Dagenais said encouraging people to give more to charities means charitable organizations will have to rely less on government funding to serve the needy. More and more charities and dioceses are looking to a planned giving approach that includes life insurance, wills and other means that require professional and legal assistance.
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