Receipting for Services

September 28, 2012

Charities are reminded that it is not permissible to issue receipts for donated services.  This is based on the common law definition of gift.  Charities can only receipt for donations that legally qualify as gifts. A gift is defined as a voluntary transfer of property without consideration.  Because services (for example, time, skills, or effort) do not qualify as property, a donation of services does not qualify as a gift and is thus not eligible for a receipt.  This is confirmed by CRA Summary Policy CSP-S03 and CRA Policy Commentary CPC-017.

According to CRA policy, where a charity is faced with a donor who wishes to donate his or her services to the charity, it may be possible to issue a receipt under certain circumstances.  For instance, where a charity pays a service provider for services rendered, the service provider may choose to donate the payment back to the charity.  In such a case, the charity can receipt for the cash gift to the charity.  It is essential that the charity actually pays the service provider for the service and that the same service provider makes a voluntary gift back to the charity.  The charity should keep a copy of the invoice, the payment to the service provider, and the gift back from the service provider for its records.  We recommend that payments in both cases be made by cheque.

The CRA cautions that a charity should not issue a donation receipt to a service provider in exchange for an invoice marked “paid”.  The CRA states that this procedure raises questions as to whether any payment has been made from the charity to the service provider and whether any payment has been made back to the charity.

Charities wishing to structure a gift of services in this manner are encouraged to contact us if they have any questions about this policy.


This publication is provided as an information service and may include items reported from other sources. We do not warrant its accuracy. This information is not meant as legal opinion or advice.

Miller Thomson LLP uses your contact information to send you information electronically on legal topics, seminars, and firm events that may be of interest to you. If you have any questions about our information practices or obligations under Canada’s anti-spam laws, please contact us at

© Miller Thomson LLP. This publication may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety provided no alterations are made to the form or content. Any other form of reproduction or distribution requires the prior written consent of Miller Thomson LLP which may be requested by contacting