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December 07, 2011 14:43 ET

Charitable Giving: BMO Report Shows Canadians Keep Giving Despite Challenging Economy

- Almost 70 per cent of Canadians have made a charitable donation in the past 12 months

- Canadians gave an average of $487 to charitable organizations in the past year; they plan do the same or more in 2012

- Give the Gift of Securities and Benefit Come Tax Time

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 7, 2011) - As 2011 winds down, many Canadians are making charitable donations before the end of the year. According to a BMO report, the majority (71 per cent) of Canadians plan on donating the same amount or more compared to last year.

The study, conducted by Leger Marketing, found that in the past 12 months, Canadians gave an average of $487 to charitable organizations.

The report also revealed that nearly two-thirds of Canadians (61 per cent) have a good or strong understanding of how donating impacts them from a tax perspective.

"Understanding the relationship between charitable giving and how this can affect your taxes is an essential step in developing a giving plan," said Marvi Ricker, Vice President and Managing Director, BMO Harris Private Banking. "While it is satisfying to see the benefits of charitable donations at work, receiving tax benefits is important as well.

"BMO and its employees have long helped support the work of United Way in key centers across North America," added Ms. Ricker. "The United Way does an amazing job at unburdening thousands of local charities from the need to raise funds themselves. We at BMO Harris Private Banking actively recommend to our clients that they support the United Way - whether through cash donations or through the gift of securities, both of which are attractive from a tax perspective."

Ms. Ricker provides the following tips for those thinking of developing a giving strategy:

Speak with a professional - Regardless of the amount you are going to be donating, work with a financial professional to develop a plan that includes a budget for giving. This is an important first step to a sound strategy.

Gifts of securities - Recent federal budgets have fully eliminated the capital gains tax on donations of publicly traded securities to a registered charity. These include shares, bonds and mutual funds. Donating securities is more advantageous than selling them and donating the cash proceeds because the capital gain on the donated securities is tax-free.

Donating Securities Instead Of Cash - How The Numbers Break Down:

*Example uses Ontario federal and provincial combined tax rate

Option 1: Sell security
and give cash
Option 2: Donate security "in kind"
Market value of security $10,000 $10,000
Cost base $5,000 $5,000
Capital gain $5,000 $5,000
Taxable capital gain (50%) $2,500 $0
Tax due on gain at 46% $1,150 $0
Tax receipt for gift $10,000 $10,000
Value of tax receipt at 46% $4,600 $4,600
Net tax savings $3,450 $4,600

Consider alternative methods - Credit cards like BMO's World Elite MasterCard, provide cardholders with the ability to donate their points to charities. Customers can use their points to make a donation to five charities:

  • United Way of Canada;
  • The Canadian Cancer Society;
  • The Canadian Red Cross;
  • Make-a-Wish Foundation of Canada; and
  • Community Foundations of Canada.

The online survey was conducted by Leger Marketing among Canadian adults between October 24, 2011 and October 27, 2011.

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