Information for donors of certified cultural property

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Why donate

In addition to helping enrich and preserve the national heritage, donations of certified cultural property are eligible for a Cultural Property Income Tax Certificate (form T871) that offers the following benefits under the Income Tax Act:

  • a tax credit, based on the fair market value of the property as determined by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board, that may be claimed up to 100% of net income (any unclaimed portion may be carried forward over the following five years)
  • an exemption from capital gains tax
  • an exemption from the rules for deemed fair market value (except in the case of tax-shelter gifting arrangement)

For more information about these benefits, please consult your tax advisor or contact the Canada Revenue Agency.

How to donate

Individuals, companies, or estates wishing to donate cultural property and to receive a Cultural Property Income Tax Certificate must first reach an agreement, or a proposed agreement, with a designated organization. The organization that acquires the property will then prepare a certification application on behalf of the donor.

Methods of disposition

Cultural property may be donated or sold to a designated organization, or may be disposed of through a combined donation/sales agreement (split-receipting).

All such agreements may be proposed or complete when the certification application is made.

For more information, please refer to the application guide on the Certification of Cultural Property for Income Tax Purposes (PDF version, 515 KB) or contact the Secretariat to the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board.

Disposition agreements

Whether a disposition is proposed or complete, it will be necessary to formalize a disposition agreement (i.e., a deed of gift or a deed of sale) with the collecting organization.

Many organizations have developed standard disposition agreements. Regardless of the template used, all such agreements must at a minimum:

  • clearly identify the donor(s) or vendor(s)
  • clearly identify the property
  • clearly identify the date of disposition
  • clearly establish that the donor or vendor holds legal title to the property
  • clearly establish that legal title has been irrevocably transferred from the donor or vendor to the collecting organization

Please note: If the Review Board has any doubts about legal title, it may put the certification application on hold.

Decision timelines

Certification applications may be submitted by designated organizations at any time, either before or after a donation is complete.

Applications received before the submission deadline of a Review Board meeting will ordinarily be considered at that meeting unless the circumstances of a particular case require otherwise. View the meeting dates and deadlines of the Review Board for more information

Review Board decisions are communicated to the applicant organization and the donor or vendor as soon as possible, typically within four weeks of the meeting where the application was considered.

Donors or vendors who would like to know more about the status of their application should contact the organization applying on their behalf.

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