Is it legal in US or Canada to accept donations?


Is it legal (US/Canada) to accept donations if you're not a government registered non-profit organization? I've seen it on a couple of sites and was wondering what are the laws surrounding those practices.

I'm just asking out of curiosity: I don't expect legal advice!

Payments Legal

asked Dec 12 '09 at 13:34
Olivier Lalonde
2,753 points
Get up to $750K in working capital to finance your business: Clarify Capital Business Loans

3 Answers


Sure, why not?

The only catch is that donations you receive are considered income (i.e. you pay taxes on it) and they are not tax-deductable for the individuals donating. That doesn't make it very appealing for either party.

answered Dec 12 '09 at 13:40
Alex Papadimoulis
5,901 points
  • +1. You can always take money. – Jason 14 years ago


I am no accountant, but I'd recommend getting smart on the IRS' Gift Tax before taking any specific 'donations.' There are specific limits under which the donation is not taxable.

Here's a decent write up on the gift tax.

I'd be interested to know if there is a difference between the handling of person-to-person gifts and person-to-for-profit-organizations... anyone?

answered Dec 13 '09 at 06:41
Chris Hagner
881 points


If someone gives a donation without any return, then it would seem to be more like a gift - not taxable to you. For the donor, donations to certain kinds of organizations described and established under Internal Revenue Code section 501 can be deductible as charitable gifts on Schedule A. Gifts to people and other organizations are not.

answered Dec 13 '09 at 05:55
Jack Rodenhi
607 points

Your Answer

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • • Bullets
  • 1. Numbers
  • Quote
Not the answer you're looking for? Ask your own question or browse other questions in these topics:

Payments Legal