CRA recently released a letter which discusses whether the donation of a conservation easement by a landowner would be considered a gift for tax purposes.
CRA provided general comments on ecological gifts.
CRA provides that for a donation of land to qualify as an ecological gift it must be made to:
-Her Majesty in right of Canada or of a province,
-a municipality in Canada,
-a municipal or public body performing a function of government in Canada, or
-a registered charity one of the main purposes of which is, in the opinion of the Minister of the Environment, the conservation and protection of Canada’s environmental heritage, and that is approved by that Minister in respect of the gift.
CRA also pointed out that the land must be certified by the Minister of the Environment to be 'ecologically sensitive land, to conservation and protection of which is, in the opinion of that Minister, important to the preservation of Canada's environment heritage'. CRA does not recognize temporary transfers of property as gifts so a gift of land will only occur in circumstances where a real property interest is permanently granted to the donee.
To read the full letter from CRA, please click here.
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Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law.