Contributions

The Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act (EFCDA) sets limits on political donations (contributions) and holds donors and political participants responsible for complying with contribution rules. Penalties apply for making or accepting contributions that do not comply with the EFCDA.

Political participants include parties, constituency associations, candidates, contestants, and third party advertisers.


What are Contributions?

Definitions of contributions.

 

Who Can Contribute and How Much?

Eligibility to contribute and limits on amounts.

 

When Can Contributions be Made?

When contributions are allowed to be made to political participants.

Are Contributions Made Public?

Learn what political participants report and what Elections Alberta discloses.

 

Can Contributions be Claimed for Tax Credits?

Eligibility for tax credits and how tax credits are calculated.

 

How are Contribution Receipts Issued?

Information for political participants on receipt preparation and delivery.


What are Contributions?

Definition relevant to registered political parties, constituency associations, candidates and contestants:

A contribution is any money, real property, goods or services, given to or for the benefit of a registered political participant, without receiving any benefit back from that participant.

Definition relevant to third party advertisers (TPA):

An advertising contribution is any money, real property, goods or services, given to or for the benefit of a TPA for the purpose of political advertising, without receiving any benefit back from that TPA. The definition applies whether the advertising contribution is made before or after the TPA has registered with Elections Alberta.


Who Can Contribute and How Much?

Only persons ordinarily resident in Alberta can contribute up to $4,243* per calendar year to any combination of the following registered political participants:

*$4,243 limit in effect January 1, 2020. For calendar years 2019 and earlier the limit was $4,000.

Beginning January 1, 2020, an individual’s political contributions to a Senate candidate shall not exceed  $4,243 per calendar year.  This limit is separate from, and in addition to, the annual aggregate limit for contributions to the five political entities listed above.  Contributions to a Senate candidate may only be made during a Senate election campaign period.

Persons ordinarily resident in Alberta and corporations, trade unions, and employee organizations operating within Alberta, can contribute any amount to these third party advertisers:

Persons, corporations, trade unions, and employee organizations can contribute any amount to:


Penalties for Unlawful Contributions

The Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act (EFCDA) requires contributors to know which political participants they can contribute to, and to keep track of their contributions throughout the year. Political participants are equally responsible for knowing who contributions can be accepted from and for informing contributors about the law regarding contribution limits.

Penalties may be applied against contributors who make unlawful contributions and political participants who accept unlawful contributions.


When Can Contributions Be Made?

There are some restrictions on when contributors can contribute to registered political participants / when participants can accept contributions from contributors:

  • Political parties may accept contributions at any time; contributions received during an election event are classified as campaign period contributions, outside of this period they are annual period contributions
  • Constituency associations may accept contributions at any time except during a campaign period for an election.
  • Candidates including Senate candidates may accept contributions only during a campaign period for their respective MLA election or Senate election
  • Nomination contestants may accept contributions only during the nomination contestant’s campaign period
  • Leadership contestants may accept contributions only during the leadership contestant’s campaign period
  • Third party advertisers may accept contributions
Registered Participant Contributions Allowed
Political Party Anytime

  • Contributions made during an electoral event are “campaign” contributions*
  • Contributions made outside of an electoral event are “annual” contributions
  • *for By-Election, parties can decide if the contribution is a campaign or annual contribution
Constituency Associations Anytime outside campaign period for election held under Election Act
Candidates Only during campaign period for election held under Election Act – if candidate is registered, from February 1st to 2 months after Election Day (general election) or from Writ Day to 2 months after Election Day (by-election)
Senate Candidates Only during campaign period for election held under Alberta Senate Election Act – if candidate is registered, from Writ Day to 2 months after Election Day
Nomination Contestants Only during nomination contestant’s campaign period – from contestant’s date of registration to 2 months after selection date
Leadership Contestants Only during leadership contestant’s campaign period – from contestant’s date of registration to 2 months after leadership vote date
Third Party Advertiser Advertising Contributions Allowed
Political TPA Anytime, but can only be used for advertising outside an election advertising period
Election TPA Anytime, but can only be used for advertising during an election advertising period
Senate TPA Only during Senate election advertising period
Referendum TPA Only during referendum election advertising period

Are Contributions Made Public?

Political participants must submit detailed contribution reports to Elections Alberta for every contribution received. In turn, Elections Alberta publicly discloses the names and contribution amounts of those who donate over $250 in aggregate in a reporting period to one of the following:

  • a registered party and/or constituency association of that party
  • a registered party and candidate of that party
  • a candidate
  • a Senate candidate
  • a nomination contestant
  • a leadership contestant
  • a third party advertiser

Can Contributions be Claimed for Tax Credits?

Persons ordinarily resident in Alberta can claim non-refundable Alberta income tax credits for their contributions made to:

  • political parties
  • constituency associations
  • candidates
  • nomination contestants
  • leadership contestants

Contributions made to third party advertisers are not eligible for income tax credits. Contributions to Senate candidates are not eligible for income tax credits.

Income tax credits are determined in accordance with s.24 of the Alberta Personal Income Tax Act.  Calculation of the available income tax credit in relation to contribution amount is shown in the table below. A maximum tax credit of $1,000 is available when total contributions reach $2,300.

Tax credits must be claimed for the tax year in which the contributions are made—unused contributions cannot be carried forward to be claimed in a subsequent year.

Amount Contributed Available Tax Credit Maximum Credit Cumulative Amount
Up to $200 75% $150 $150
Next $900 ($201 to $1,100) 50% $450 $600
Next $1,200 ($1,101 to $2,300) 33.3% $400 $1,000
Over $2,300 Nil Nil $1,000

How are Contribution Receipts Issued?

Political participants must issue official contribution receipts for all contributions over $50 and may issue receipts for amounts up to $50 if the donor specifically requests it.

Each political participant must have an individual appointed in the role of chief financial officer (CFO) who is responsible for recording and receipting contributions. The CFO must report the following information to Elections Alberta for each contribution received:

  • Contributor’s name
  • Contributor’s address
  • Amount contributed
  • Date the contribution was made to, or received by, the political participant
  • Date the official contribution receipt was issued
  • Type of contribution (money/cash or valued/in-kind)

The CFO must prepare and issue receipts to contributors. Each receipt must include the above information and indicate the tax year as well as the political participant who received the contribution.

The CFO uses Elections Alberta’s secure Online Financial System (OFS) for reporting contributions to Elections Alberta and for issuing receipts to contributors. The system enables the CFO to deliver receipts by email or print and mail them to contributors.

If you do not receive your receipt, please contact the political participant directly.