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 donations.
How to make a donation
If you have an item you would like to donate:
- First, you will need to contact an eligible recipient institution – the institution needs to be a Deductible Gift Recipient as listed on the Australian Business register. Until the donation has been accepted into the permanent collection of one of these institutions, it will not be eligible.
- Obtain two valuations of the GST inclusive market value of your donation from CGP approved valuers. (The institution will help you find approved valuers or may even arrange the valuation). Valuations must be performed by valuers who are approved for the class of work/s being donated.
- The institution will submit the following documents to us on your behalf:
- a Certificate of donation
- at least two valuation certificates from approved valuers
- quality colour images of the item(s) except for printed, manuscript, library and archival materials.
- 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 institution that you donated your gift to will return your documents 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 donation 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 donation.
- Donated within 12 months of acquisition: if you donate an item 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 donating it, or subject to an agreement that you would donate 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 item 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.
Cultural Gifts Program links for donors
- Cultural Gifts Program Guide
- Cultural Gifts Program valuers
- Visit Cultural gifts program page on the ATO website for more information