Wednesday, 25 November 2015 16:05

The many benefits of giving this season

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With the arrival of Dec. 1 only days away, the Christmas season will be in full swing.

While there will be numerous lists competing for people’s attention — from the ones listing the top gift choices of children to grocery staples for the big meal Christmas day and who will receive a card this year — there is another list that is of equal, if not more, importance. That “list” is the one naming the charities of one’s choice.
This year, the Alberta NDP government has ensured those people who make this kind of list a priority will still get their own nice present under the tree instead of the piece of coal that was in store if the provincial Progressive Conservatives would have formed government.
When the PCs hit the campaign trail earlier this year in the spring, they ran on a budget that included decreasing the charitable tax credit from 21 per cent to about 12 per cent for donations greater than $200. It was met with displeasure from individuals, business leaders and those who head up charitable organizations. There was even grumbling amongst those individuals who donate to charity on a regular basis.
We all know the importance of charitable giving. It should be done with a joyful spirit and the reward is knowing one has helped an important cause that is usually near and dear to a person’s heart. Let’s not underestimate though, a nice benefit for the giver is that there is the ability to reduce one’s tax burden by choosing to help a charity. Other than everyday write-offs or incentives, the only other way to help reduce one’s taxes is by giving to a political party — something some people just can’t stomach when there is a charity in need.
The Alberta NDP government, as part of its budget release in November, made sure to highlight the fact they are keeping the Charitable Donations Tax Credit at 21 per cent — one of the highest in Canada.
What a nice gift for those individuals who know the importance of donating to charity.
When the PCs released their plans to decrease this tax credit, part of the reasoning was that the tax credit doesn’t encourage people to donate. That is probably a fact, but should those people who do donate be punished for doing so by receiving less of a credit? We think not and those heading up Alberta charities agreed.
In the news release from the government Myrna Khan, vice-president resource development with the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region, said, “We see how much Albertans care every day through their support and while we find that most people base their decision to give on the desire to help others, we know that our province’s generous tax credit is an additional reward for donating.”
So as we head into the Christmas season, think about which registered charity needs support and consider making a monetary donation before the end of the year. Donations can be made year-round of course as the need for many charities never ends.
It’s never a bad idea either to let your local MLA know you appreciate the “gift” you will receive thanks to the gift you have given to help others.
Rose Sanchez is assistant managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact her with your comments about this opinion piece at rsanchez@

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor