The information below provides a guide to the steps, information requirements, and standards involved in submitting an application for certification of cultural property for income tax purposes. This information reflects amendments made in 2019 to the Cultural Property Export and Import Act, and replaces all former certification application guidelines.

Effective applications for certification of cultural property have two features in common: accuracy and completeness. To that end, these guidelines are intended to encourage accuracy and completeness, as well as efficient, informed, and consistent practices for all applicants.

The Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board (CCPERB) will update these instructions from time to time in order to improve the clarity and efficiency of the application process. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Secretariat to CCPERB to suggest recommendations for improvements, or to provide general feedback on their application experience. Secretariat staff also are available to answer questions and to clarify requirements.

Applications for certification of cultural property, including new applications, requests for redetermination, and applications put on hold by CCPERB, are all subject to the same deadlines. Please visit About the Certification of Cultural Property for application deadlines, key dates, and additional information about the certification process.

When you have reviewed the information below and you are ready to apply, please log in to the application tool.

When you have reviewed the information below and you are ready to apply,
please log in to the application tool.

Step 1Before you apply

Before applying for certification, owners of cultural property must first reach a disposition agreement, or a proposed disposition, with a designated organization. Only designated organizations may apply for the certification of cultural property on behalf of donors or vendors. These organizations—typically a gallery, library, archive, or museum—meet the necessary standards to preserve cultural property and to make it publicly accessible. For more information about designated organizations, please consult the Department of Canadian Heritage Movable Cultural Property Program.

Other mandatory information requirements include providing descriptive information about the cultural property, completing supporting documents, and preparing a justification of how the cultural property meets the criteria of outstanding significance set out in the Cultural Property Export and Import Act. To save time and to ensure all the information requirements are met, applicants are encouraged to prepare their information well in advance of logging into the application tool.

If the Secretariat identifies non-compliant, erroneous, or missing information, the applicant will be asked to provide additional information. If the Secretariat does not receive the information, the application will be considered incomplete and will be closed. In special circumstances, the Secretariat can provide a short extension.

Step 3Getting started: Disposition Details and other key information

In the application tool, the applicant must indicate the status and type of the disposition, as well as provide a Declaration of Disposition (for a competed disposition) or a Statement of Title (for a proposed disposition). A disposition can be a gift, a donation/sale, or a sale. If the disposition is not free of conditions, please submit the application as a proposed disposition.

In some cases, CCPERB may require a copy of the disposition agreement, deed of transfer, or related documentation. In these instances, the applicant will be contacted by the Secretariat.

You will also be asked to provide a brief description ( one line) of the cultural property that will be used to identify the application throughout the process. For example, the summary description may include the object’s title and medium, the date(s) of creation, the name of the creator, or other basic identifying information.

Contact information for the donor(s) or vendor(s) must also be provided. A donor or vendor can be an individual, company, or estate.

An application for certification must only include one disposition date. When several objects are disposed of on different dates by the same donor or vendor, please submit separate applications for certification according to each disposition date. Objects that are disposed of on the same date may be grouped in a single application.

Every application must be signed by the organization’s duly authorized representative, attesting to the accuracy and completeness of the information in the application.

Step 4Justify the object’s outstanding significance

In the application tool, the applicant must identify one or more criteria of outstanding significance that pertain to the object and provide a justification that specifically addresses these requirements for outstanding significance. For information about the criteria of outstanding significance, please see Outstanding Significance for Certification. If the application includes multiple objects, please consult with the Secretariat to CCPERB to determine whether an outstanding significance justification is required for each item, for the objects as a collective whole, or for logical groupings of objects within the application.

CCPERB can certify an object only if it meets the criteria of outstanding significance set out in the Cultural Property Export and Import Act. Specifically, the object must be of outstanding significance by reason of its close association with Canadian history or national life, its aesthetic qualities, or its value in the study of the arts or sciences.

As addressed in Structuring a Justification of Outstanding Significance, the justification of outstanding significance is a statement, prepared by the applicant, on which the Review Board relies to determine whether the object is of outstanding significance.

The objective of the justification is to demonstrate, using detailed analysis, how the object submitted for certification meets one or more of the criteria of outstanding significance as set out in the Cultural Property Export and Import Act. It is different from a description of the object’s observable features or an institution’s acquisition justification. Furthermore, although information on the creator, collector or acquiring institution may in some cases be relevant, it is not sufficient for the Review Board to make a determination of whether an object is of outstanding significance. It is important that the justification discuss the object itself and demonstrate clearly the characteristics that make it of outstanding significance. This is an analytical rather than a purely descriptive requirement.


For more details on how to structure an effective justification addressing these requirements, please consult Structuring a Justification of Outstanding Significance.

Step 5Confirm the object’s authenticity

In the application tool, the applicant must provide a declaration of authenticity signed by the authenticator. The cultural property must be authenticated by an authenticator with appropriate expertise. The applicant must identify the authenticator, and provide information about the authenticator’s qualifications.

Step 6Describe the object

In the application tool, the cultural property must be sufficiently described, with complete information provided for each of the descriptive factors below. This information enables CCPERB to understand the physical features and other factual details about the object. This descriptive information must be comprehensive, accurate, and be prepared according to professional standards appropriate to the medium or media of the object.

If the application includes multiple objects, or for collections of objects, please consult with the Secretariat to CCPERB to determine if it is necessary to describe each object individually in this section of the application.

Creator

Identify the creator, if applicable, including name, publisher, manufacturer, or other source of production specific to the object. For an object that has more than one creator, include all the relevant names or sources.

Where the creator is unknown or anonymous, indicate whether the object is, for example, “attributed to”, “after”, or “from the School of” a particular maker or genre, if known. In some cases, the maker may be a corporation. In these cases, provide the name of the corporation or manufacturer and the country in which the object was manufactured, together with any significant information about the manufacturer, such as a brief administrative history, to place the object in a historical or cultural context.

Not all objects have a creator or manufacturer, e.g. mineral specimens, palaeontological specimens, and some archeological objects. Where there is no creator or maker, select “No creator”.

Key Features

Your description should identify any features specific to the object(s); this includes key features such as title, materials or medium, date of creation, dimensions, size and number of edition, and other identifying features, such as any signature or inscription, and measurements of the object(s), as appropriate.

For archival material , also include the type of record and the number or extent of each type, and the time period covered. Please note any access restrictions. Archival material must be described in accordance with prevailing archival practice using standards appropriate to the type of material.

For photographs, include the date the photograph was taken (if known), date of printing, and edition number.

Images

The descriptive information must be corroborated by an accompanying high-quality digital image (or images) of the object. Please clearly name any associated image files of the object and list these in the description or in an accompanying list.

Images must be submitted in JPEG format, with a file size and quality sufficient for CCPERB to observe the object in detail. In the case of archival records, provide a representative sample of images to highlight the material. For three-dimensional objects, provide images depicting multiple angles or, where appropriate, provide an image of the back (verso) of the object.

Condition Report

Provide information about the condition of the object(s) at the time of disposition. In cases where the object has undergone conservation treatment, or where conservation treatment is required, a full condition report prepared, dated and signed by a conservator must be provided to assess the degree to which the original intent of the maker has been, or will be, safeguarded.

For collections of objects, a general report may be provided about the condition of the objects in the collection. A detailed condition report prepared and signed by a conservator must still be provided for any objects in the collection that may have condition issues.

Provenance

Identify how the owner acquired the object, the date of acquisition by the owner, and other information relating to provenance, including the object’s purchase price paid by the owner, if applicable. Indicate any price adjustment arrangement, if applicable.

For cultural property such as mineral specimens, palaeontological specimens, and archeological objects, in addition to provenance the applicant must provide information about the origin of the object, such as geographical, regional, or community source, or other significant information about the origin of the object.

In cases where it is not possible to establish a complete ownership history, describe any efforts that have been made to bridge the gaps in the history of ownership.

For Archival Cultural Property only: Archival Assessment (or Archival Appraisal Report) and Finding Aid or Inventory

For archival cultural property (record, collection or fonds d’archives) regardless of format, the applicant must provide an Archival Assessment (or Archival Appraisal Report) and a Finding Aid or Inventory.

It is essential that the applicant carry out the Archival Assessment and prepare the Finding Aid or Inventory BEFORE the monetary appraisal of the fair market value is undertaken. The Archival Assessment and Finding Aid or Inventory are among the documents that the applicant must provide to the appraiser in order to inform the appraisal. Please see the CCPERB Guide for Monetary Appraisals for a complete list of documents that must be provided to the appraiser.

The Archival Assessment should address the following questions:

  • Is the archival cultural property an addition to an existing collection or fonds? If so, specify which accrual, and whether further additions are anticipated.
  • What methodology and criteria were used to select the material submitted in the application?
  • Briefly describe the material that was not retained by the applicant and the material that was retained but not submitted in the application.
  • Explain and state what proportion of the accrual, collection or fonds is submitted in the application?
  • Are there duplicates in the current or previous additions, or other related materials already in the applicant's collection? If so, explain why these duplicates are submitted.
  • Identify any applicable access restrictions.
  • Explain the role of condition in the context of your selection criteria and provide adequate analysis to clearly relate the contents of the Condition Report to the selection decisions. Please see the requirements for Condition Report as described above.

Finding Aid / Inventory

The applicant must provide a Finding Aid or Inventory containing descriptive information elements appropriate to the types of records contained in the collection or fonds d’archives (and which have been retained as a result of the archival appraisal exercise). Clearly identify in the Finding Aid or Inventory, which documents are subject to certification if only a selection from the collection or fonds is submitted.

The level (series, file or item) and depth (detailed descriptive entries or summary inventory) of the description of the collection or fonds may vary according to the scope. However, if some documents or series merit an assignment of fair market value at the item level, then these will require a corresponding item level description with descriptive elements that are appropriate to the most suitable market to the object (e.g. a photo album, or a literary manuscript).

Given the large number of records contained in some collections or fonds, it is acceptable to present them in logical categories or groupings. However, sufficient detail must be provided to allow CCPERB to assess the extent of the material submitted for certification and to assess the fair market value attributed to a record or grouping.

Step 7Appraisals

Applications must include one or two appraisals. When the aggregate estimated fair market value of the donation is less than $50,000.00 CAN only one appraisal is required. For applications with the aggregate fair market value equal to or above $50,000.00 CAN, two appraisals are required, unless the appraisal is prepared by a committee of the Art Dealers Association of Canada (ADAC) or the National Archival Appraisal Board (NAAB). CCPERB recognizes that such appraisals represent the opinion of more than one expert.

Split-receipting (donation/sale) refers to a type of donation where the donor receives a cash advantage for a portion of the fair market value of an object and a tax benefit for the remaining donated portion of the fair market value. The same policy outlined above for the number of appraisals applies. Therefore, if the estimated fair market value of the donation is equal to or above $50,000.00 CAN, two appraisals will be required, even if the donation portion is under $50,000.00 CAN.

The applicant MUST provide the following documents and information to the appraiser(s):

  • Description of the object
  • Condition Report
  • Provenance
  • Purchase price
  • Declaration of Authenticity
  • Justification of outstanding significance
  • Declaration of Disposition (for completed disposition only)
  • Digital photographs of the object(s)
  • Archival Assessment Report and Finding Aid (for archival material only)

If the appraisal is completed prior to the appraiser(s) receiving of these documents, the applicant must provide an addendum from the appraiser acknowledging that they have reviewed the documents, and indicating whether a change in the estimated value (at the date of disposition) is required, as a result of new information contained in these documents.

In order to avoid processing delays, the applicant must ensure that the appraisals submitted with the application for certification are complete and conform to the CCPERB Guide for Monetary Appraisals.

When there is a significant discrepancy between the estimated values of two appraisals, either between the values of individual objects or between the total estimated value of each appraisal, CCPERB requires that the applicant provide a written justification of the proposed fair market value.

Step 8The decision

CCPERB may approve or refuse an application for certification, put an application on hold, or determine an application is inadmissible.

If CCPERB determines that the cultural property meets the requirements set out in the Cultural Property Export and Import Act, a Cultural Property Income Tax Certificate (T871) will be issued to the donor(s) or vendor(s) based on a determination of the object’s fair market value.

If CCPERB concludes that an object does not meet the criteria of outstanding significance, the application will be refused.

If CCPERB requires additional information from the applicant in order to make a determination, an application may be put on hold. If the requested information is not received within two (2) years of the date of the decision letter, the application will be closed.

CCPERB decisions are communicated in writing to donors or vendors and to the applicant.

Step 9Redeterminations

Once CCPERB has made a determination of fair market value, donor(s)/vendor(s) not satisfied with the determination may request CCPERB to redetermine the fair market value.

Requests for redetermination must be made in writing to CCPERB within twelve (12) months after the date of CCPERB’s determination. New information should be provided to CCPERB in order to justify a redetermination.

CCPERB will consider a request for redetermination and render its decision within four (4) months after the receipt of the request, unless the circumstances of a particular case require otherwise.

Donors or vendors who are not satisfied with a redetermination of fair market value made by the CCPERB may file an appeal with the Tax Court of Canada within ninety (90) days of the day on which the Cultural Property Income Tax Certificate was issued.


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