Generating Charitable Receipts
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Before reading this page , which contains an overview of receipting, you may want to review the page on the Receipt menu, to get an quick notion of the menu options to be discussed.
Receipts are the name that the DONATION program gives to the documents sent to donors that show what to claim on their taxes for their charitable deduction based on their donations to your organization. There is another help topic titled Statements and Receipts that talks about the difference between those two concepts.
Organizations should always go to the Maintenance à Receipt Options window to specify which country or province they are in, as part of their initial setup. This will guarantee that they get the correct receipt format, because there are a number of different receipt formats for different places. There are also a number of other options on this window that you can review.
You can use a bitmap logo and/or a bitmap signature on your receipts - you set that up on that same window.
Organizations that want to have their charitable number (officially called Business # in Canada, Tax ID/EIN in the USA, and ABN for Australian DGR organizations) on their receipts should enter it on the Maintenance à Organization Info window. This is required in Canada, and optional in the USA (some charities prefer to show it on the receipts, others prefer not to).
The name of the person who will be signing the receipts (or whose name is in the bitmap signature recorded, as mentioned above) is also entered or updated on the Maintenance à Organization Info window.
When to Issue Receipts
Most organizations will choose to issue all of their receipts after the year end. Current Canadian government regulations recommend that they be generated and distributed to donors by the end of February. The IRS in the USA recommends that they be sent by the end of January. Other countries may have other deadlines. However, you can also generate a receipt for one donor at a time at any time during the year.
You should probably never issue receipts for a given donation received by cheque until you have deposited the cheque and given time to make sure it is not NSF. If a cheque does come back NSF before you receipt it, just delete that donation for that donor. (You could alternatively change its Amount to $0, and change its Cheque # / Paid By field to "Non-Receiptable", to prevent it from appearing on any receipt.)
Receipts are numbered sequentially within a year. For instance, for the year 2012, the numbering starts at 2012-00001 and goes up to at most 2012-99999. Once a donation has had a receipt issued for it, the receipt number (without the part for the year and any leading 0's) appears in the Recpt # field for that donation, in the Donations area of the main window.
The donation details area on the main window includes a "Recpt #" field, for the receipt number. This field cannot be entered directly. It gets filled in when you generate a receipt that includes that donation with one of the Receipt menu options, and you save the receipt back to the database by printing it, saving it to PDF, or emailing it. Only the second part of the receipt number is displayed in the "Recpt #" field, e.g. 1 is displayed if that donation was part of receipt number 2012-00001.
To generate a receipt for one donor, find the donor then use the Receipt à Current Donor Original option. This creates the receipt for all receiptable donations from that donor that haven't yet been included on a receipt. (All other means of creating receipts also exclude any donations that have already been included on a previous receipt.) The receipt is displayed on the screen, and you can print it.You will be prompted as to whether you want to print a second copy for your records.
NOTE: The appropriate person whose name is printed on the receipts (entered as "Receipting Person" in Maintenance à Organization Info) must sign the receipts for them to be valid. (I believe you can also use a rubber stamp of the signature.) You can alternatively use a bitmap signature.
For your initial testing, or if you are still using the Evaluation Version of the program, you can instead use the Receipt à Current Donor Sample option, which creates a sample receipt (with "SAMPLE" as a large watermark on the page), and does not store the receipt back to the database in any way. This is the only Receipt menu option that is available while you are in Evaluation mode, before you have purchased the program and received a license key.
Printing and Saving Receipts
If you don't print receipts that you have generated and you then exit the window on which you are viewing them, the receipts are not saved back to the database. (Of course the donations included in the receipt will still be saved!) Receipts are also saved back to the database if you email them to donors with the Email/Print button, or save them to a PDF file with the Save PDF button.
Sample receipts created with the Receipt à Current Donor Sample option are never saved, even if you print them.
Standard vs. Mail Merge Receipts
There are actually two ways to display the receipts once they have been generated. The standard way uses built-in reports. They cannot be edited, but you can make some changes to what is included in them via options in the Maintenance à Receipt Options window. The other way (which became available starting in version 3.10 of DONATION) is generate them via mail merge. This happens if you check the "Create Receipts via mail merge instead of normal report method" checkbox in that same options window. In that case, receipts are generated using standard mail-merge letter files that replicate the built-in reports for receipts, and which you can edit. To edit their Letter File (that determines their wording and structure), in the Maintenance à Receipt Options window, click the Edit Mail Merge Receipt button. Alternatively, go to Letters à One Letter, select the radio button for Selected Receipt information, make sure the checkbox in Section 2 to use standard filenames for the Letter File is checked, and click Edit below the name of the Letter File. (These two methods do exactly the same thing.) You can make any changes you wish, then save your changes. See the section on Generating Receipts using Mail Merge for details.
N.B. Mail merge receipts are not available with the free Lite version of DONATION.
I said above that all "receiptable" donations by a donor that haven't yet been included on a receipt will be included when you generate a receipt for them. There are several ways to mark an entire donor, or individual donations, as Non-Receiptable, so that they will never receive an official receipt (for donors) or be included in an official receipt (for donations). Please read the details on this under Non-Receiptable Donors and Donations.
Year-End Receipts for All Donors
After you have entered all of the donations for a given year, and you are ready to print off all of the receipts, choose Receipt à All Donors from the menu. This will create receipts for at most 500 donors in one batch (it tells you if it is imposing that limitation). Receipts will be created for all donors who have receiptable donations that have not yet been included on a previous receipt. Again, you can preview them, and after you Print them you are given an option to print a 2nd copy for your records.
N.B. This option is not available with the free Lite version of DONATION.
If you received the message about printing at most 500 receipts, just go back and run Receipt à All Donors again, and repeat until they are all done. The reason I have imposed this limitation is that the way the receipts are generated uses a lot of memory in your computer, and I was concerned that the program might run out of memory if I let it generate them all at once. Do not worry, you can print all of your receipts no matter how many donors you have.
When you are printing all the receipts, I recommend that you not exit the window displaying them until your printer has finished printing them successfully. That way, if for instance you need to replace the ribbon or ink cartridge and reprint them because you ran out of ink, you will still be able to click the Print button again and print them successfully. But see the next section on Reprinting Receipts if you do exit the window, and your printer fails to print all of the receipts.
If you are in a country such as England or Australia where the receipting / tax deduction year is different from the calendar year, please see the notes about how to handle this in the Help topic on Fiscal Years in DONATION.
If you do have a problem printing a batch of receipts, and you have already exited the window displaying them, you can reprint them with Receipt à Reprint Range. That brings up the following window:
This option prompts you for the starting and ending receipt numbers that you want to reprint, and then recreates them and gives you an option to print them again. (Being able the specify the receipt numbers is very helpful if some of your receipts printed before, but others didn't.) If you aren't sure which receipts you want to reprint, you can view a report on all generated receipts this year with Reports à Receipt à All Receipts.
The Reprint Range menu option can also be used to reprint just a single receipt, that you need for some reason.
The checkbox for Mark all reprinted receipts as "Corrected" should only be used if you have already sent the original receipts to the donors, and you need to resend all of them for some reason, so they need to be marked "Corrected". That way the donors know they are replacing the original version. This will only handle corrections to things like the receipt format, or donors' addresses. If there are changes you have made to the donations to be included in the receipts, please read and use the Help on Generating Duplicate or Corrected Receipts for options to do this one receipt at a time, with more flexibility.
Deleting Receipts Created in Error
If you have generated a batch of receipts and realize that you did not want to do so, you can delete them with the Receipt à Delete Range option. The most common time this comes up is if you have run Receipt à All Donors in the middle of the year, to look at the receipts, then printed them but not sent them to the donors. When you use Receipt à All Donors again at the end of the year, you find that they only include the donations from each donor that occurred after that first batch of receipts was created, and you really wanted all donations for the year to be on one receipt. As long as you have not distributed those earlier receipts to the donors, or created and given out any individual receipts in the time in between, you can use Receipt à Delete Range to delete all of the old receipts, and then recreate them with Receipt à All Donors.
Instead of creating receipts mid-year, you may want to create a non-receipt report for each donor to show what they have given so far. See Statements and Receipts for details on this option.
You can also print a selected subgroup of all outstanding receipts, or receipts for a selected subgroup of receiptable donations, with the Receipt à Filtered Donors option. This option is most commonly used by users who wish to send receipts only to those donors who have donated at least a certain dollar value.
This brings up a window where you can select criteria based on the Donor (a value of Category 1, a value of Category 2, or some text found in Other Info 1, 2, or 3) or criteria based on individual Donations (a minimum donation Amount or a donation Category). All donors and donations matching all entered criteria, which haven't yet been included on a receipt, will have the receipts generated for them. Like Receipt à All Donors, this will print at most 500 receipts at a time. Please read the help page on Generating Filtered Receipts for full details on this option.
N.B. This option is not available with the free Lite version of DONATION.
Duplicate and Corrected Receipts
If you have already distributed the receipts and a donor calls up and says that they lost their receipt, or there is a correction to the data in their receipt, you may not just issue another original copy of the receipt (because an unscrupulous donor could submit both to the government!).
Instead, for simple duplicates, select the donor from the list, click on one of the donations included in that receipt, then use the Receipt à Current Donor Duplicate/Corrected function to reprint the receipt. This adds the words "Duplicate Receipt" to it so that it is clear that this is a replacement receipt. If the donor never received the original receipt, you can avoid the replacement being marked as a duplicate by instead using Receipt à Reprint Range, which does not change the status of the receipt to Duplicate if it is not already marked as a Duplicate.
If there was a correction needed (one of the donations comprising the receipt was deleted, and/or new donations were added that you want to be included etc.) it instead adds the word "Corrected". The duplicate or corrected receipt has the same receipt number as the original.
See Generating Duplicate or Corrected Receipts for more information, especially about the options for correcting receipts. You can also generate a duplicate or corrected receipt by receipt number, without pointing to the donor and donation, by using Receipt à Duplicate/Corrected Receipt by Number.
Receipt Mailing Labels and Envelopes
You can print mailing labels to go on the envelopes for the receipts generated on one day by using the Reports à Receipt à Mailing Labels option. Alternatively, you can print the actual envelopes themselves, with the Reports à Receipt à Envelopes option.
It may be possible to instead just use window envelopes, though the current receipt formats are not currently optimized to display the address in them properly. To do this, you would have to switch to the mail-merge version of the receipts, and adjust the receipt formatting until it fit properly.
Issues with Including Descriptions in the Details Section of the Receipt
If you have selected the option in Maintenance à Receipt Options to print the donation Descriptions in the details section of the receipt, and you have long descriptions, they may wrap onto two lines, because there is not enough room across the line for the complete description. In some odd cases, where the description is just almost long enough that it needs to wrap, the program may get a bit confused and leave space for two lines of description, even though it does not actually put anything on that 2nd line. Sorry, this is something I can't do anything about. It just looks a bit odd visually.
Sections of the Receipt
Receipts for Canada have two sections - a top part that the donor submits with their tax form, and a bottom part for them to tear off and keep for their own records. Bilingual French/English receipts and French-only receipts for Quebec have three sections, so that one copy can be sent with the Federal tax form and one with the Provincial form. U.S. receipts do not need multiple sections because the receipt is not submitted with the donor's tax form. Each section of any of the types of receipt includes the Member/Envelope # for the donor with their name, if such a number has been entered.
The bottom part of the receipt optionally includes details of all individual donations included on that receipt, and also optionally includes a summary of donations by category. If you are including the details section, and you are not including the Cheque No or Description in the details, then if there is more than one donation included in the receipt, they will be printed in two columns to save space. If you include the Cheque No or Description, the details section is too wide to be printed in two columns. (Which sections are included, and which fields are included if you include the details section, are determined by settings in the Maintenance à Receipt Options window.)
Some Canadian organizations like to use actual tear-off forms for their receipts. You will want to print a sample receipt on your printer to determine where the perforations should go, before you spend money for such forms. It appears that you cannot just buy such forms at a stationery shop - you have to have them printed by a print shop or press such as Moore Business Forms. Just request plain 8 1/2" x 11" white bond paper, with a fine perforation at the position you have carefully measured. Some users may also prefer to ask for a security background on the top portion above the perforation, as in a cheque. Another option is that they can put very fine markings on the top portions that will show up if the receipt is photocopied. A few print shops in the Toronto area that could do such work are Minuteman Press, 416-733-8292, Gibson Printing, 416-504-8218, and Crain Drummond, 905-238-8866. (However, I apologize, but this list has not been checked for some time.)
Another issue regarding receipts is related to the entry of the Eligible Amount for Donations. The following discussion is primarily about its use in Canada.
An example of when you might enter the Eligible Amount is a fundraising dinner. Suppose the donors buy tickets costing $100 for a fundraising dinner, and the actual cost of providing the dinner to your organization is $40. That means that only $60 of the donor's donation is eligible to be included on a charitable receipt. The way you enter this is to enter $100 for the Total Amount, and $60 for the Eligible Amount. The Eligible Amount is what the donor can claim on their taxes.
Note: As of late 2006, there were new Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) regulations with regard to this situation, which they call "split receipting". They require the separate display of the following fields on a receipt:
- the total cash amount of the donation received by the charity
- the value of the advantage (what the donor received), and
- the eligible amount of gift for tax purposes.
All receipts for Canada or Quebec show all three of these lines, but only if an Eligible Amount has been entered. If no Eligible Amount has been entered for the donation(s) included in the receipt, the CRA only requires the last of those three lines above to be on the receipt, so that is what DONATION does.
You can control whether the Eligible Amount field is displayed in the Donations area of the main window with an option on the Donations tab of the Maintenance à Main Window Options window.
Note for users in the U.S.A. and other countries: Very few users in the U.S.A. seem to want to do this type of "split receipting" that is used in Canada, so at this point the DONATION program's receipts for the U.S.A. always show just the regular Amount (or Total Amount) field. If you do want to do split receipting, you can use the Eligible Amount field, but you will need to contact me for a special version of the mail-merge receipt for the U.S.A. that displays it.
Receipts for all other non-Canadian countries use the Eligible Amount, if it is entered, and otherwise use the regular Amount (or Total Amount) field.
Gift in Kind Receipts
If you receive gift in kind (non-"cash") donations, it is very important that you read the topic on Gifts in Kind.
For Canadian users, there is an option in Maintenance à Receipt Options for "Use different receipts for Gifts in Kind / Non-Cash Gifts". If you select that option (which is selected by default) then the normal receipts on the Receipt menu will exclude any donations whose Cheque # / Paid By value is "Gift in Kind", which is an option on the drop-down list for that field. Receipts for gifts in kind are then instead generated by using the menu options on the Receipt à Gift in Kind Receipts sub-menu, which replicate the options on the main Receipt menu.
If you uncheck that "Use different receipts for Gifts in Kind / Non-Cash Gifts" checkbox, on the other hand, gifts in kind are included in the regular receipts from the Receipt menu, and the Receipt à Gift in Kind Receipts sub-menu does not appear. (This is how the program always behaved prior to version 3.13, when this new option was added, and it is also how it behaves for all non-Canadian users.)
N.B. This option for different Gift in Kind receipts is not available with the free Lite version of DONATION.