Is Your Canadian Organization Eligible for Google Grants?

Eligibility to receive $10,000 per month in Google AdWords is predicated on the applying organization meeting the Google program eligibility guidelines. While the program is called Google Grants for non-profts, in Canada the distinction between non-profits and charities is different than in the United States.

The Google Grants program is available to only ‘registered charities’ in Canada as defined by the Income Tax Act. Organizations must be registered under the Canada Income Tax Act, able to issue charitable receipts to donors, and are exempt from income tax in order to be considered for this program. Is your Canadian organization eligible for Google Grants? It is if it is a registered charity in Canada as described in the the table below from Revenue Canada, but may not be if your organization is simply a registered non-profit.

Registered charities are often referred to as non-profit organizations (NPOs). However, while both types of organizations operate on a non-profit basis, the two types are defined differently under the Income Tax Act.

Topics Registered charity NPO
Purposes
  • must be established and operate exclusively for charitable purposes
  • can operate for social welfare, civic improvement, pleasure, sport, recreation, or any other purpose except profit
  • cannot operate exclusively for charitable purposes
Registration
  • must apply to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and be approved for registration as a charity
  • no registration process for income tax purposes
Charitable registration number
  • is not issued a charitable registration number
Tax receipts
  • can issue official donation receipts for income tax purposes
  • cannot issue official donation receipts for income tax purposes
Spending requirement (disbursement quota)
  • must spend a minimum amount on its own charitable activities or as gifts to qualified donees
  • not applicable
Designation
  • is designated by the CRA as a charitable organization, a public foundation, or a private foundation
  • does not receive a designation
Returns
  • must file an annual information return (Form T3010) within six months of its fiscal period end
  • may have to file a T2 return (if incorporated), and/or an information return (Form T1044) within six months of its fiscal period end
Personal benefits to members
  • cannot use its income to personally benefit its members
  • cannot use its income to personally benefit its members
Tax exempt status
  • is exempt from paying income tax
  • is generally exempt from paying income tax
  • may be taxable on property income or on capital gains
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