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Nonprofit Law/Tax form submittal requirement


QUESTION: I have a non-profit service organization based in the U.S. which has 501-c3 status. We provide the service in the U.S. and in Canada. For Canadian donors to receive a tax deduction, do we have to incorporate in Canada and receive "charitable status" or can they write the check to our U.S. company and still get the deductions?

ANSWER: I answer questions about U.S. tax law and your question is about individuals in Canada in reference to their Canadian income tax issues.  However, as treaties are reciprocal, the Canadian donor will have encouragement from IRS Publication 557 "Tax Exempt Status for Your Organization" which is available at on the right under "Publications" as "Publication 557 (Rev. October 2013)"

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You  may  be  able  to  de­duct contributions to certain Canadian charita­ble organizations covered under an income tax treaty with Canada. To deduct your contribution to a Canadian charity, you generally must have income from sources in Canada.
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There should be a similar statement in a publication from Revenue Canada that would indicate that your Canadian donors would not be able to receive a deduction for a contribution to a U.S. charity unless they have income from sources in the United States.

Harvey Mechanic
Attorney at Law

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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QUESTION: I incorporated our Non-Profit organization early in 2013. We received no donations, income, services and we own no assets. We did not receive 501-c3 status approval until September 2013. What tax form for 2013 (if any) do I need to submit? Is it the 990EZ form and if so, do I just put all zeros and submit it?

Form 990-N online. explains which 990 series return to file annually with the IRS.

Harvey Mechanic
Attorney at Law

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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Harvey Mechanic


I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.


I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.


B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.

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