Information for donors
Do you have an item of cultural significance you would like to gift to an Australian gallery, museum, library or archive?
Enriching our public collections and capturing our national memories
The Cultural Gifts Program encourages Australians to donate items of cultural significance to our public collecting institutions by offering tax deductions for eligible gifts.
How to make a donation
If you have an item you would like to donate:
- First, you will need to contact one of the approved recipient institutions participating in the program. Until the gift has been accepted into the permanent collection of one of these institutions, it will not be eligible.
- Obtain two valuations of the market value of your gift at the time of the donation from approved valuers. (The institution will help you find approved valuers or may even arrange the valuation).
- The institution will submit the following documents to us on your behalf:
- We will assess your submission and send you a letter advising if you can claim the relevant tax deduction as part of your next income tax assessment.
- Once the process is finalised, the documents will be returned to you for your tax records.
Things to be aware of
There are some limitations on claiming a tax deduction under the Cultural Gifts Program.
- Testamentary gifts: gifts made from an estate to an institution are not eligible under the Program.
- Conditions: if you impose conditions on the gift that prevent the institution having full custody, control and clear title, the Commissioner of Taxation may reduce the amount of your tax deduction by a reasonable amount.
- Advantage received: The Commissioner of Taxation may disallow a deduction if you receive any advantages of a material nature (such as free or discounted membership) as a result of your gift.
- Donated within 12 months of acquisition: if you donate the gift within 12 months of acquiring it, the amount you can claim as a deduction is limited to the lesser out of either the purchase price or the item's current GST inclusive market value.
- Acquired for the purpose of donating: if you acquired the item for the purpose of gifting it, or subject to an agreement that you would gift it, the amount you can claim as a deduction is limited to the lesser out of either the purchase price or the item's current GST inclusive market value.
- Trading stock: if you are a collector or artist and you donate the gift from your trading stock, your deduction is limited to the cost to you of acquiring or producing the item.
Donations by artists
If you are an artist and you are considering donating one of your own works, you will need to be aware there is a difference between donating items from your trading stock as opposed to your personal collection, as they are treated differently for tax purposes.
- You may donate items from your trading stock and claim the market value as a tax deduction, but you must declare the market value of the item as part of your assessable income. This effect results in no tax benefit. You may still claim the cost of the creation of the item as a business expense.
- If you donate the item within 12 months of transferring it to your personal collection, you may claim the lesser amount out of:
- the market value of the item
- the cost of creation of the item, reduced by the amount of any input tax credit you have claimed in respect of the item.
- If you have held the item in your personal collection for longer than 12 months, you are entitled to claim the full market value of the item as your tax deduction.
To transfer an item from your trading stock to your personal collection, you will need to:
- Demonstrate the date the item was withdrawn from sale.
- Reflect in your income tax that you have 'bought' the item from your business at cost. This means you will need to include this cost in your assessable income from your business.