Certification of cultural property


Please note that as of April 1, 2017, the Secretariat to the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board will no longer accept paper applications for certification.

All submissions must be made online.

We encourage institutions to take advantage of the benefits of applying online.

For further information, please contact us.

Click here to register.

The certification of cultural property offers tax incentives to donors and vendors of cultural property. The certification process encourages the transfer of significant examples of Canada’s artistic, historic, and scientific heritage from private hands to public collections.

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Who can apply

Only designated organizations may apply for certification to the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board on behalf of donors and vendors. The Review Board will then determine:

  • whether the cultural property meets the criteria of outstanding significance and national importance as set out in the Cultural Property Export and Import Act, and, if so,
  • the fair market value of the cultural property for tax purposes.

Outstanding significance and national importance

Cultural property created anywhere in the world may be eligible for certification if the Review Board determines that it is of outstanding significance and national importance to Canada.

An object or collection may be deemed of outstanding significance by reason of any one or more of the following criteria:

  • a close association with Canadian history
  • a close association with national life
  • aesthetic qualities
  • value in the study of the arts
  • value in the study of the sciences

An object or collection may be deemed of national importance if its loss to Canada would significantly diminish the national heritage.

For more information about outstanding significance and national importance, please refer to the Review Board’s guidelines on Writing an Effective Outstanding Significance and National Importance Justification (PDF version, 513 KB).

Fair market value

The Review Board makes determinations of fair market value for the purposes of subparagraph 39(1)(a)(i.1) or paragraph 110(1)(b.1) of the Income Tax Act, which establishes the additional tax benefits for which donors or vendors of certified cultural property are eligible.

To assist the Review Board in determining the fair market value of cultural property, all applications for certification of objects being donated to designated institutions/public authorities must include substantiated monetary appraisals.

The Canada Revenue Agency defines fair market value as:

The highest price, expressed in dollars, that property would bring in an open and unrestricted market, between a willing buyer and a willing seller who are both knowledgeable, informed, and prudent, and who are acting independently of each other.

Determinations of fair market value are based on market evidence and intended to reflect market conditions at the time the property is donated or sold to the designated organization.

Donors or vendors who are not satisfied with a Review Board determination of fair market value may request a Review Board redetermination.


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