Registering Your Church for Charitable Status

In order to register your church for charitable status, you must complete Canada Revenue Agency form T2050 "Application to Register a Charity Under the Income Tax Act". 

The advantage of being a registered charity are:

  • organization is allowed to issue official receipts for gifts received
  • organization is exempt from paying income tax

The requirements of a registered charity are:

  • devotes its resources to charity
  • meets requirements of registration in respect to charitable purpose
  • files T3010, Registered Charity Information Return, within six months of fiscal year end

When your organization has a clear idea of its purpose and how it will achieve its purpose or operate, and such information is documented and available, you would want to register for charitable status.
When completing the "Application to Register a Charity Under the Income Tax Act", care should be taken to fill in all the appropriate blanks.  You will need to include a list of directors, trustees, or similar officials in leadership;information about the activities of your church; a copy of budget information; a copy of a financial statement if available; and a copy of your constitution and bylaws.  The completed form and the attachments must be sent to Charities Directorate, Canada Revenue Agency, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0L5

Be sure to keep a copy of your application and application documents for your records.  If CRA needs additional information or information is missing, they will contact you for this information.   If you fail to respond within a certain time frame they will close the file and you will need to apply again.

Once the application is approved, CRA will send a "Notification of Registration" which will include information about registered charities and your Business Number.

A mission church (seed) will use the sponsoring church's registration number until they have constituted and are in a position to apply for their own registration.  The mission church must keep accurate records and conform to the standards and requirements of the sponsoring church.  The sponsoring church must include information from the mission church (seed) when filing the annual return.


Note:  The CRA website is an excellent resource.  Forms and guides to completing these forms and an abundance of general information are available and fairly accessible with the search feature. 


Related Articles and Videos

GST & Your Church
GST & Your Church
As a charity, your church may be able to claim a rebate to recover the GST/HST you paid on certain goods and services.
Official Donation Receipts
Official Donation Receipts
Your church as a registered charity can issue official donation receipts to donors. There are a number of requirements...
Gifts to Your Church
Gifts to Your Church
How does Canada Revenue Agency define gift? What are "gifts-in-kind? What about gifts that are designated by the donor?
The Importance of Registering Your Charity
The Importance of Registering Your Charity
Churches need to know the importance of registering as a charity.
Clergy Residence Deduction
Clergy Residence Deduction
A person who is employed as a member of the clergy may be entitled to claim a clergy residence deduction in respect of his residence.
Church Payroll Checkup
Church Payroll Checkup
Employment legislation varies from province to province and sometimes there are no standard answers.
The Church As A Canadian Registered Charity
The Church As A Canadian Registered Charity
Churches register for charitable status with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for the major purpose of advancing religion.