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University of Saskatchewan
Gift Acceptance Guide
Reference: University of Saskatchewan Policy - 5.06 Gift Acceptance
AUTHORIZATION:  Vice-President (Finance & Resources)
Approval Date: January 14, 2002


The University is a registered charity under the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) and the United States of America Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Its official Canadian charitable registration number is 11927 9313 RR0001; its United States Internal Revenue Service Employer ID Number is 23-7069575.

The guidelines presented in this document have been established to:

2.       SCOPE

These policies and procedures govern the acceptance and financial administration of all types of gifts, including inter vivos (during their lifetime) gifts or testamentary (bequest) gifts, from sources such as corporations, associations, foundations, and individuals, including university faculty, staff and students, made in support of existing or new initiatives at the University of Saskatchewan.


3.1  Gift Eligibility

The following gifts are deemed eligible for acceptance by the University of Saskatchewan:

  • Cash Donations (outright gifts of cash, cheques, credit cards, electronic funds transfers, payroll deductions) (see 4.1)
  • Gifts-in-kind (shares, bonds, artwork, cultural property, and other assets) (see 4.2)
  • Life insurance policies (see 4.3)
  • Annuity contracts (see 4.4)
  • Gifts of residual interest (see 4.5)
  • Bequests (see 4.6)

3.2  Gift Acceptance

The University may elect to accept or decline any gift. The final decision to accept or decline a gift rests with the Board of Governors. Ownership of all gifts directed to the University vests in the University, whether said gifts are for the benefit of the University generally or for some specific purpose.

The negotiation and development of terms and conditions relating to gifts is to be co-ordinated through the University Advancement Office. University Advancement will seek appropriate counsel from college, department and administrative offices to ensure:

  • the proposed gift is consistent with institutional and legislated regulations and guidelines
  • that the donor’s intent and direction is consistent with institutional objectives and priorities
  • that the donor’s intent and direction is clearly understood and documented
  • that the gift does not expose the University to a potentially significant liability
  • that if precedent-setting or sensitive issues are present, they are adequately assessed by the appropriate institutional authorities
  • that the proposed gift has received the appropriate institutional review and approval.

3.3  Gift Limitations

Donations from individuals, including faculty and staff:

Faculty and staff have made significant contributions to the many academic, research, student and other program initiatives at the University and they are encouraged to continue to support the University through personal donation using any of the gifting options available (see 3.1 Gift Eligibility) including donations through payroll deduction.

Faculty and staff may direct a donation to a particular program or department. A charitable receipt will be issued provided the use of the funds rests with the University and is available for the benefit of all participants of the program or department.

Charitable receipts cannot be provided where:

  • the donor receives any direct personal benefit under the arrangement [Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) Interpretation Bulletin IT-110R3 — "Gifts and Official Donation Receipts" does not allow registered charities to issue a tax receipt where the donation is used to confer a benefit of any kind to the donor]
  • the donor has signing authority over the use of the funds
  • the donor stipulates the recipient
  • the use of the funds is restricted to specific individuals
  • participation in a program or activity is limited to the donor(s)
  • proprietary rights entitlement accrues to the donor through the use of the funds.

Should the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) deem the donor to have received a direct benefit, an individual’s charity tax credit will be denied.

This policy does not apply to employees who wish to receive a portion of their salary in the form of a research grant. Employees who wish to apply for a Research Grant in lieu of Salary should contact the office of the Associate Vice-President (Academic).

When conditions placed on a gift offer are judged to be administratively difficult or not in the University's best interest, the Vice-President (Finance and Resources), in consultation with other University officials, including the University Advancement office, may request that the terms of the gift be revised or recommend that the gift be declined.

The following gift conditions cannot be accepted by the University for scholarships, fellowships, or other financial aid funds:

  • Conditions which, by explicit designation, require the exclusion of, or discriminate against, a group or class, unless such exclusion or discrimination has the effect of favoring one or more designated groups as provided for in an approved institutional plan or equity program
  • Stipulations designating a specific recipient by a donor

Refer to Policy Governing the Acceptance of Student Awards passed by Board of Governors June 13/96.


4.1  Cash Donations


Cash donations may be in the form of cash, cheques, electronic funds transfers, credit card transactions or other cash transfer mediums accepted at the University and are to be forwarded to the University Advancement office for recording and processing.  Actual ‘cash’ should not be forwarded through the mail and should be hand delivered.

Receipt generation will be coordinated by the University Advancement office under the authority of the Associate Vice-President (Financial Services). Receipts acknowledging the donation will be distributed by the University Advancement office.

Payroll deduction:

  • Charitable donations deducted from employment income otherwise payable are included in the calculation of taxable income
  • The University Advancement office will arrange for the completion of a Payroll Deduction Authorization Form
  • Payroll deductions may be made only to eligible funds
  • Payroll deductions must be for a minimum of $5.00 per fund per pay period for at least 10 consecutive pay periods
  • For purposes of claiming the charity tax credit, the charity donation amount will be reflected on the employee’s year-end T4

4.2  Gifts in Kind

Gifts in kind are donations of property other than cash-based gifts. Examples include donations of land, buildings, marketable securities, equipment, furniture, works of art, library materials, and operating supplies. Gifts-in-kind may be received and held by the University and used for purposes consistent with its objectives, or may be disposed of at any time after the donation, provided no such agreement to the contrary is made between the donor and the University. The gift must be of use to the University, or it should be available to be disposed of and the proceeds directed, in support of academic, research or general programs, or as outlined and agreed to between the University and the donor

Inquiries relating to donations of financial instruments such as shares, bonds, life insurance and annuities should be directed to the University Advancement office. Inquiries relating to donations of collections (books, works of art, etc.) should be directed to the Financial Services Division (Trust Advisory Services). Official receipts for taxation purposes acknowledging these gifts are issued by the Financial Services Division under the authority of the Associate Vice-President (Financial Services). The Library, Kenderdine Gallery, University Advancement Office, and Treasury Office provide assistance in assessing and valuing related gifts.

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) requires that the charitable receipt be issued for an amount equal to the fair market value of the gift. This value must be supported. The person who determines the fair market value must be competent and qualified to evaluate the property being transferred by way of a gift. Fair market value is considered to be the value established between a willing buyer and a willing seller who are dealing at arm’s length.

Where the fair market value is greater than $1,000.00, an appraisal valuation by a qualified independent third-party appraiser is required. Where the value of the gift is significant, two appraisals may be required. Appraisal costs are the responsibility of the donor unless otherwise approved by the University, College, Department, or Unit to whom the gift is being donated.

Where the fair market value is less than $1,000.00 the valuation may be determined by a qualified internal appraiser. The generation of internal valuations will be coordinated by the Financial Services Division. Where the expertise in determining the value is not available internally, a formal appraisal by a qualified independent third-party is required. Appraisal costs are the responsibility of the donor unless otherwise approved by the University, College, Department, or Unit to whom the gift is being donated.

Many donations may have unique tax consequences therefore donors should consult with their personal tax advisors.

Gifts of marketable securities will be receipted based on the closing price on the date the physical share certificate is issued or the date the shares are received electronically by the University’s broker. Where the shares are received electronically and they are sold the same day, the value of the receipt will be the gross proceeds received.

4.3  Life Insurance Policies

Donors may donate to the University new or existing life insurance policies. Where the University is the owner and beneficiary of the policy a receipt for tax purposes may be issued to the donor for the annual premium payments and for the cash surrender value of the policy at the date of gift based on guidelines established by CCRA Section 118.1 (see also IT Bulletin #IT-244R3).

4.4  Annuity Contracts

Donors may donate to the University annuity contracts where the donor receives predetermined payments during their lifetime with the balance remaining at date of death flowing directly to the University. The donor may be eligible to receive a receipt for tax purposes on a portion of the value of an irrevocably gifted annuity based on guidelines established by CCRA.

4.5  Residual Interest or Charitable Remainder Trust

The donor retains the right to the income or the use of the assets during his or her lifetime. The property is irrevocably transferred to the University and the donor receives a charitable receipt for the discounted value actuarially determined by CCRA regulations. A receipt is issued at the time the trust is set up.

4.6  Bequests

Bequests paid to the University of Saskatchewan qualify as charitable gifts Official receipts for tax purposes will be issued to the estate of the deceased.


5.1  University Advancement

Working within priorities, policies and procedures approved by the Board of Governors, the President and others, the University Advancement Office has these principal responsibilities for gift acceptance:

  • To act as liaison with donors and university officials on all matters that pertain to a donation process, its administration and management including the formulation of Terms of Reference

  • To ensure that donations conform to the Income Tax Act, and once received and accepted, are accurately recorded and reported, and to ensure an appropriate charitable receipt is issued

  • To recognize the generosity of donors and their contribution to the university
  • The University Advancement office operates and maintains specific guidelines for assessment and receipting of donations of all types including the following: annuities, gifts-in-kind, bequests, cash including payroll deductions, life insurance, charitable remainder trusts, real property, cultural property, and residual interest arrangements. (Definitions of some of these types of donations can be found in Section 8 of this policy).

5.2  Financial Services Division

Working within priorities, policies and procedures approved by the Board of Governors, the President and others, the Financial Services Division has these principal responsibilities for gift acceptance:

5.3  Fund Administrator

The Fund Administrator has a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that the terms and conditions under which the fund were received are adhered to, including ensuring that the contributed capital and/or the income are utilized within the framework of the fund’s Terms of Reference.


6.1  Receipting of Donations:

All charitable donation receipts must be issued in compliance with the Income Tax Act and in accordance with the procedures of the University. A charitable donation must be a voluntary transfer of property; usually cash that is made without expectation of benefit to the donor or to anyone designated by the donor. Donations that are not deemed to qualify as 'gifts' according to the Income Tax Act, will be acknowledged with a business or non-charitable donation receipt.

Receipts acknowledging a donation will be dated in the calendar year in which the donation is received. Donations received on or after January 1 but bearing a post-mark prior to the end of the preceding calendar year should be dated December 31 of the preceding year.

Receipts will be issued in the name of the individual(s) or entity making the donation.

6.2  GST Implications

Charitable gifts are not subject to GST. Non-charitable donations must be reviewed to determine their GST status.

6.3  PST Implications

The Financial Services Division will review gifts-in-kind to make sure there are no outstanding PST implications.

7.       REPORTING

The University Advancement Office, in consultation with the Financial Services Division, prepare an annual report to the Board of Governors reporting on all donations accepted on behalf of the University.

On a quarterly basis new charitable trusts established at the University are reported to the Finance Committee of the Board of Governors and subsequently to the full Board for information.

As may be directed in donor agreements, annual reports may be provided to donors establishing charitable trusts advising them as to the financial activity, financial status and award recipients. These specific reporting requirements would be identified in the guidelines for the trust.


Appraisal: A process of determining the fair market value of non-cash donations.

Assessment: The process of determining the usefulness to the University of a gift-in-kind.

Bequest, by Will: A deferred gift payable to the University upon death, as directed by Will, which may be a percentage of the estate, a stipulated amount, the residue of the estate, or gifts-in-kind.

Charitable Donation Receipt: An official receipt for income tax purposes for a charitable donation.

Charitable Gift or Charitable Donation: A "donation" or "gift," according to the Income Tax Act, is a voluntary transfer of property without expectation of return. The following three conditions must be met:

  1. some property - usually cash - is transferred by the donor to the registered charity
  2. the transfer is voluntary
  3. the transfer is made without expectation of return. No valuable consideration - no benefit of any kind - to the donor or to anyone designated by the donor may result from the payment.

Charitable Trust: See definition for ‘Trust’.

Cultural Property Gift: An object or a collection that is determined by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board to meet the criteria of "outstanding significance and national importance" as established under paragraphs 11(1)(a) & (b) of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act.

Donation: May be used interchangeably with "gift." A gift that is offered to and accepted by the University. The donation may be of a charitable nature, in which case, it is eligible for a charitable donation receipt. The donation may be cash or in-kind.

Fund: An account established to facilitate the administration of the gift donation in accordance with the terms of reference of the gift and administered by a fund administrator.

Fund Administrator: The person responsible to ensure that the funds are administered according to the conditions laid out in the terms of reference associated with the gift or donation.

Fund - Expendable: All donations received by the fund may be spent following the conditions of the terms of reference of the gift or donation.

Fund - Non-expendable: An Endowment fund. An Endowment fund is a restricted fund that accounts for the capitalization of externally or internally restricted amounts, primarily donations, which cannot be spent. Only interest earned after capitalization may be spent according to the conditions of the terms of reference of the gift or donation.

Gift: May be used interchangeably with "donation." A gift that is offered to and accepted by the University. The donation may be of charitable nature, in which case, it is eligible for a charitable donation receipt. The donation may be cash or in-kind.

Gift-in-Kind: A non-cash donation of material objects, marketable securities or intellectual property. Gifts-in-kind do not include services, gifts deemed of little value to the donor, or personal time.

Gift-in-Kind - Library Materials: Material objects or intellectual property, which a person, estate, corporation or other entity donates or proposes to donate to the University. This may include books, serials, pamphlets, facsimiles, photocopies, maps, charts, globes, electronically stored media, data-bases, audio tapes, CD-ROM's, archival documents or manuscripts not suitable for the University Archives, microfilms, photographs, pre-book communications media, such other things as are collected by academic research Libraries.

Life Insurance: A deferred gift, payable to the University upon death, where the University is listed as the beneficiary of the life insurance policy. A registered charity may issue charitable donation receipts for policy premiums paid by the donor directly to the insurance company where the charity is both the owner and the designated beneficiary of the policy.

Payroll Deductions: A gift to the University from faculty or staff that is received by the University through deductions from their monthly payroll.

Real Property: Real property may be donated as outright, current gifts, or donated as life estates (residual interest arrangement).

Terms of Reference: A document that sets out the management and administration of each fund that is established through a gift to the University of Saskatchewan. The terms will be agreed upon and signed by the donor(s), and the President or appropriate Vice-President of the University.

Trust: Is a fund established through charitable donation to be administered under terms and conditions agreed to with a third party.