What do the proposed Alternative Minimum Tax changes mean for charitable giving?

Budget 2024 proposed changes affecting AMT’s charitable giving

May 29, 2024
Business tax

Executive summary

Individuals and trusts who benefit from tax deductions, credits and exemptions may find themselves paying a higher rate of tax under the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) regime. The 2023 and 2024 Federal Budgets proposed changes to the calculation of AMT by limiting the inclusion rates of some significant deductions and credits, including charitable donations.

What is AMT?

For each taxation year, individual taxpayers and certain trusts calculate their taxes payable under two methods: regular income tax and AMT. The method which yields the higher taxes payable determines the amount the taxpayer owes for the year. Compared to the regular income tax method, the AMT limits the ability to offset income earned with certain eligible deductions and credits. Typically, AMT applies in situations where high-income taxpayers substantially lowered their taxes payable due to deductions and credits.

If a taxpayer is subject to AMT in a given year, the difference between the amount calculated under the AMT method and the amount calculated under the regular tax method can be carried forward for seven years. The carry forward is treated as a credit against taxes payable calculated under the regular tax method.

Charitable Donations under the Current AMT regime

Under the regular tax system, taxpayers that make donations of publicly listed securities receive a tax receipt for the fair market value of the securities donated and an exemption on any applicable taxes on the accrued capital gain of those donated securities.

Similarly, under the current AMT regime, charitable giving does not have an impact on the AMT calculation as:

  • the full amount of all donation tax credits can be fully applied against any AMT owing and;
  • the full capital gains from donating public securities are excluded in calculating AMT owing

For high income taxpayers, the current method allows them to shelter potentially large accrued gains on the donation of publicly traded securities, as opposed to donating an equivalent cash amount.

Charitable Donations under the Proposed AMT regime

The following changes will be effective Jan. 1, 2024.

The federal government has proposed to increase the AMT flat rate from 15% to 20.5% when calculating adjusted taxable income. Moreover, it is proposed to concurrently raise the AMT exemption threshold, being the amount of adjusted taxable income to which AMT does not apply, from $40,000 to $173,000. This should result in fewer Canadians being subject to AMT.

Alongside the increased rate and exemption base, the treatment of charitable donations is proposed to be changed so that:

  • an increase in the inclusion of capital gains realized on the donation of qualifying securities from 0% to 30%, and,
  • A decrease in the recognition of the donation tax credit from 100% to 80%

For large donations of publicly traded securities, taxpayers may now find themselves with an AMT payable, when previously any accrued gains would have been exempt.

Impact on Taxpayers

The proposed changes to charitable donations will likely have a significant impact on how taxpayers subject to the new AMT make donations going forward.

Consider a taxpayer (below) that wants to make a significant donation of publicly traded securities with a large accrued capital gain. Under the proposed changes, the capital gain inclusion rate for the donated property is 30% alongside limiting the donation tax credit to 80%. This increases the taxpayer’s tax liability that they will have to personally fund even when no consideration has been received for the donated property and may result in taxpayers being less inclined to donate as a result.

Current AMT

Proposed AMT

Earned Income


1,000,000   A        

Capital Gain on donated public securities



Taxable Capital Gain on donated public securities


150,000   B

Adjusted Taxable Income


1,150,000   A+B

Basic AMT exemption



Taxable Income



AMT rate





Donation Tax Credit





Planning Strategies

Taxpayers that consider donating significant cash or property on an annual basis need to start planning ahead to determine if these donations will result in any AMT being payable.

Perform charitable giving through a corporation

Taxpayers may consider donating publicly traded shares with accrued capital gains through a corporation, as AMT is not applicable at the corporate level. This may be advantageous as the tax-free amount of the capital gain of the donation of public securities will be added to the corporation’s Capital Dividend Account (CDA) and can be distributed to shareholders on a tax-free basis.

Spreading out the donations

Taxpayers may consider donating smaller amounts over the span of several years as opposed to one large lump-sum. This could help limit the amount calculated under the AMT method in a given year.

Managing taxable income

If taxpayers have the flexibility to do so, they may consider managing their income in future years to ensure they can get a credit from any tax paid under AMT that can be applied against regular income tax for up to seven years.

Charitable giving at death

AMT does not apply in the year of death. Taxpayers may consider charitable giving through their will at death to avoid AMT but still create the positive impact of giving.

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