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C. Tax Status

  • Maintain status as a non-profit, registered charity or qualified donee under the Income Tax Act (Canada).
    • File a complete and accurate annual information return with the Canada Revenue Agency and/or federal/provincial government.
  • Comply with applicable rules regarding business activity and private or undue benefit.
  • Where applicable, comply with federal requirements regarding political activities.


The land trust has qualified for federal charitable status and complies with requirements for retaining this status, including prohibitions on private benefits and political campaign activity. If the land trust holds, or intends to hold, conservation agreements, it complies with the applicable enabling provincial legislation. Land trusts that intend to hold Ecological Gifts must meet the criteria of Environment Canada (see 10C). The federal government provides an exemption from income tax for qualified non-profit organizations and allows the deductibility of contributions for those non-profits with charitable status. This subsidy of the non-profit organization is offered in return for the organization’s operation in the public interest. The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) requires that charitable organizations operating as public charities meet certain tests both at the time of application for charitable status and on a continuing basis. These include avoiding the creation of an undue benefit, a prohibition on political activity, complying with limitations on lobbying, and meeting the public benefit test. In some provinces, land trusts that intend to hold conservation agreements also need to receive approval to do so from the provincial government. In addition, Environment Canada must approve land trusts who intend to participate in the Ecological Gifts Program.