I made a charitable donation in December of last year, and have yet to receive the official tax receipt for tax-return purposes.

Contacting the charity, I was told that the receipts had already been sent; given the time-frame involved, mine has presumably been lost in the mail. Request for a new copy to be sent to me (with proof of payment and current mailing address) has gone unanswered, and while it may arrive before the end of the month I would very much prefer not to delay filing my taxes to the last minute because of one errant receipt.

Is having the actual charitable tax receipt necessary for claiming the credit? In the interest of filing my taxes on time (more accurately, in the interest of just getting my filing done and out of my hair because I'm sick of having the forms sitting here mocking me in their incompleteness) I'm sore tempted to just file right now (claiming the credit) while I continue my quest for the official receipt. Probably won't, mind you, but I totally want to. The problem is, if and when the deadline for filing does arrive and I'm still waiting on my receipt, what am I to do?

I can easily produce records that I made the payment itself, of who I made it to, of the e-mails requesting my receipt, and even a screenshot of the charity's website clearly stating that an official receipt will be issued. However, in the off-chance that I am audited before acquiring the actual receipt, would that be sufficient? Am I just better off abandoning the credit this year and (assuming the receipt arrives) claiming it on next year's return instead?

  • 2
    Just in case anybody has the same question for US tax: you only need a written acknowledgement for a deductible contribution of $250 or more; or $75 for a quid pro quo contribution (e.g. NPR totebag for your donation).
    – NL7
    Apr 11, 2014 at 21:13
  • If you haven't received the receipt by April the charity is being very slow. Contact them and ask about the receipt. maybe they sent it to the wrong address, or there is an electronic version waiting for you to download it. Apr 16, 2014 at 3:06

1 Answer 1


Yes, you need the receipt to make the claim.

If you are filing online you don't normally send the receipts, but Revenue Canada can ask for them, and if you don't have them you can be in trouble - maybe not prosecution, but certainly some extra attention the next few times you file.

What you can do is file without the claim, and then if it is worthwhile file an amended return when you get the receipt. Alternatively you can keep the receipt and claim the credit next year.

Even more alternatively, there is no penalty for filing a tax form late as long as you are sure that you are owed a refund. If the government owed you money, you can wait until you have the receipt and file then.

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