• Heritage gifts

    You may be able to claim a tax deduction if:

    • you donate a heritage gift to a National Trust organisation, and
    • the Trust accepts the gift to preserve it for the benefit of the public.

    On this page:

    What is a heritage gift?

    Heritage gifts are places of:

    • outstanding natural, Indigenous or historic heritage value to the nation
    • significant natural, Indigenous or historic heritage value owned or controlled by the Australian Government
    • significant natural, Indigenous or historic heritage value throughout Australia.

    You can find lists of heritage places:

    • The Commonwealth Heritage List is a list of natural, Indigenous and historic heritage places owned or controlled by the Australian Government.
    • The National Heritage List is Australia’s list of natural, historic and Indigenous places of outstanding significance to the nation.

    See also:

    Who can I donate to?

    You can only donate heritage gifts to the following DGRs:

    • the Australian Council of National Trusts
    • the National Trust of Australia (New South Wales)
    • the National Trust of Australia (Victoria)
    • the National Trust of Queensland
    • the National Trust of South Australia
    • the National Trust of Australia (WA)
    • the National Trust of Australia (Tasmania)
    • the National Trust of Australia (Northern Territory)
    • the National Trust of Australia (ACT).

    These DGRs must accept the gift to preserve it for the benefit of the public.

    Partial donations

    The making of a gift to a DGR involves the transfer of property to that DGR. For there to be a transfer, the property that belonged to the donor must become the property of the DGR. However, an exception is provided for heritage gifts.    

    If the terms and conditions of the gift of the property are such that the DGR does not have immediate custody and control of, or full legal title to, the donated property, the donor can claim a reduced tax deduction. The reduced amount should reflect the benefit the donor received from retaining some rights or custody and enjoyment of the donated property.

    Example

    Winston owns and resides in a house in Sydney that has significant heritage value. Winston decides to donate the property to the National Trust of Australia (New South Wales) in the current year for inclusion on the National Heritage List. The conditions of the donation stipulate that Winston will be able to continue to reside in the property until his death.

    The amount of Winston's tax deduction would need to be reduced by the value of the benefit Winston receives by continuing to reside in the property.

    End of example

    How much can I claim?

    The general rule is that the amount you can claim as a deduction is the average of two or more written valuations made by valuers approved by the Arts Secretary.

    However, different arrangements apply if the property was:

    • acquired for the purpose of donating it
    • acquired subject to an arrangement that it would be donated, or
    • acquired (except by inheritance) less than one year before donating it.

    In these circumstances, the valuation of the gift is the lesser of the:

    • amount the donor paid for the property
    • average of the written valuations.

    Different arrangements also apply if no amount is included in your assessable income for the gift, and an amount would have been included if the property had been sold rather than donated.

    In this circumstance, a written valuation is not required. 

    One example is property purchased with the intention to make a profit that the donor later disposed of as a gift. The valuation of the gift is either:

    • the amount paid for the property
    • if the property had been manufactured or created, the amount allowable as a tax deduction if it had been sold by the donor.

    If you are registered for GST (or required to be registered) these amounts may need to be adjusted.

    Last modified: 25 Jul 2017QC 18539