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Charity Begins at Home

Written by Gill Campbell for Synergy Magazine,
September 2004

Charity begins at home, in fact in all homes

We give at work, at the door and walking down the street

Have you kept track of the raffle tickets and the donations you give?  Do you feel obliged to make a “handout” because you do not feel you are doing enough?  If you are like most of us you are actually giving quite a lot, but it is not actually going to the hospital, school or international aid group that you might really like to help.

You do not have to be rich to support the charities you believe in

If you have a charity or group of charities that you would like to support – “if only I had the money”, you may want to think about planning a regular or planned donation.  Canvassers are the first to recognise when someone says “I have already made my commitment to….” and leave you in peace.  And, if you choose to do it, even what you currently give away is likely to be a useful contribution if you place it where you really want.

You can afford more than you think

If you, or all the members in your household, donate to registered charities you should collect charitable tax receipts. In British Columbia, for the first $200 you will receive a tax credit of about $46.  If you donate over $200 (and you can save up your receipts for five years) you will receive a tax credit of $43 for every $100 extra you donate.  However, you will not get this government help without the charitable tax receipts, but with their help you can make a difference without having to be wealthy.

Making your gift count

Well, the take home message is that you are probably already giving away significant donations, but perhaps not to the charities that you would prefer to support.  Making a plan will put your money where you want to make a priority and collecting receipts will earn help from the government so that you can give more.  The tables below shows how the government tax credits help with donations over the accumulated receipts of $200.


Donation with receipt

Tax credit*

Your real out of pocket cost

$200

$46

$154

$300

$89

$211

$500

$175

$325

$1,000

$390

$610

 

If you give this much

then the tax credit* is

and it really costs you

$280

$80

$200

$456

$156

$300

$807

$307

$500

$1,684

$684

$1,000

*in BC, the refundable tax credit is about 23% on $200 then 43% on balance for charitable donations with receipts



Gill and husband Chris
Gill and husband Chris


Gill Campbell is a certified financial planner and an independent insurance broker.  Please email me with specific areas that you would like me to consider in developing future columns

Leaving a legacy

Most of us do not like to think too long about our estate planning and yet many of us end up leaving some of our money to local churches or other charities.  The charities really like to have you identify your intentions as early as possible and planning earlier in life may open significant options to maximise your donation and collect tax credits to maintain the legacy you are leaving to your family.  Your options include:

  • Put a bequest in your will,
  • Life insurance can increase your legacy,
  • Charitable remainder trusts

If you need help to discuss these ideas, it is worth contacting the charity you are considering.  They will likely help you plan the best legacy you can leave, for the charity and for your family.  The earlier you have this discussion, the more likely that your contribution will be effective.

 
Gill, Chris and Kayla