UNHCR Staff in blue UNHCR jacket working in waiting room in Poland

The volunteer point in the waiting room at Rzeszow train station in eastern Poland. Refugees arriving at the station from Ukraine can receive warm drinks and food before continuing their journey. Also, an indoor market in the city has been equipped with 500 beds as a shelter for refugees. Donating Stocks and Securities can help those in need © UNHCR/Maciej Moskwa

Did you know that cash donations are not the only way to support UNHCR? Making a gift of publicly traded securities to UNHCR today—or in the future in your Will — offers you the chance to support refugees in need, while being more tax-advantageous for you. In fact, gifts of securities may be the most cost-effective way of giving. 

A gift of stock or securities is an advantageous way to make an impact in Ukraine, while benefiting from tax breaks. The benefits for you are twofold. Through your donation, you are helping fund an organization that is assisting refugees forced to flee Ukraine and displaced people in other areas of conflict, and you can personally benefit from the tax savings.  

How do you know which investments to donate in order to help those in need?

Your financial advisor can help you decide on the best investments in your portfolio to donate. It is generally recommended by financial advisors to donate securities that have the highest capital gain to maximize tax savings. The most commonly donated securities are stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and certificates of deposits. For your convenience, most of these can be transferred electronically.  

It is important to note that not all investments qualify. The security must be a non-registered investment account – an RRSP or RRIF would not qualify in this case. TFSAs do not qualify for the same tax savings as it is already tax exempt. You would not benefit should your gift not accrue capital gains. In this case, it would work out to be the same as if you had donated cash. 

The table below demonstrates how your gift of shares can go further and give you a higher tax credit than making a cash donation 

Sell Shares or Donate Cash Donate Shares to UNHCR Directly
Proceeds of Disposition $5000 $5000
Cost of Shares $1000 $1000
Capital Gain $4000 $4000
Tax on Capital Gains $920 $0
Donation Amount after Tax $4080 $5000
Charitable Tax Credit (on your Tax Return) $1876 $2300

*The example above should not be used solely or as a replacement for professional advice

Both methods qualify for a tax break, but there is a better tax break with the direct donation. A donor will immediately reduce the amount of tax paid on their income. In addition, charitable donations can be carried forward, if your donation exceeds your annual limit for that year, it can be used in any of the next five years of tax returns.  

Another option for giving is to donate these investment funds through your Will. The tax savings benefits will allow more of your estate to go to your beneficiaries. Thus, the fair market value is given at the time UNHCR receives the donation. 

Your contributions to UNHCR are essential to the success of the emergency programs that we provide to displaced people around the world. Your generous gift will help refugees receive critical support.  

How do I donate? 

We have a secure online form you can fill out to easily make your gift, through CanadaHelps. You can choose an emergency fund to designate your gift toward or give where the need is greatest You will be provided with a tax receipt from CanadaHelps. 

If you have any questions on how to make your gift of stock or securities, or the impact of your generosity, please contact Kudzai Riva, Direct of Planned Giving at UNHCR Canada, at rivak@unhcr.org

Click here to learn more.

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