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Charity and tax time: It really is better to give

When it comes to giving money to charity, every little bit adds up to make a big difference. The same is true for your charitable receipts at tax time. Here's how: On the first $200 you claim, you earn a 15-per-cent tax credit. On amounts more than $200, you earn a 29-per-cent credit.

Considering you can claim up to five years worth of charitable receipts at once, it may make sense to claim them all at a later date. Let's say your spending plan allocates $200 a year for donations. If you claim $200 in 2009 and in 2010, you would generate a tax credit of $30 for each year. If you were to lump the receipts together in 2010, you'd generate a $30 credit on the first $200 and $58 on the second, for a total credit of $88.

In order to claim donations, they must be to a registered charity recognized by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). You can confirm registration of your charities of choice by searching the CRA charities listings online. If you're searching for a new cause to get behind this year, check out, which lets you search for causes based on areas of interest.

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Consider getting the little ones in your life involved as well. If they set aside money in jars for short-term and long-term savings, consider adding a donation jar to the mix. And don't worry about filling that one to the brim. Donating just $10 to Habitat for Humanity, for example, will buy a box of nails that volunteers could use toward building a home for a deserving family.

Angela Self is one of the founders of the Smart Cookies money group. Read her weekly column on managing debt and saving money at

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