For landowners who wish to donate their land or an interest in their land to a land trust, the Ecological Gifts program helps increase the tax benefits that can result from such a donation.
The Ecological Gifts Program encourages landowners to conserve ecologically sensitive land by donating it to a qualified recipient, such as The Land Conservancy. Landowners can either donate the land outright (by transferring title to all or part of their land) or donate a legal interest in their land (by registering a conservation covenant against their land).
To be considered ecologically sensitive, a property must either currently contribute or have the potential to contribute to Canada’s biodiversity or environmental heritage. In other words, any property that provides habitat or has ecological values will be considered. In addition, properties with proper restoration plans may also be considered.
Donors benefit from this program in two ways. The first is knowing that their land will be protected forever. Properties donated to a conservation organization under the Ecological Gifts Program cannot be mortgaged or re-sold.
The second way donors benefit is through the significant income tax benefits they receive. Donors (private or corporate) receive a tax receipt for the full value of their ecological gift. This tax receipt can be applied against 100% of their net annual income. Corporate donors may deduct the amount directly, while individual donors can use it to calculate a non-refundable tax credit. Any unused portion of the tax receipt may be carried forward for up to five years. None of the capital gain from the transfer of the property is taxable instead of the usual 50%.
If you are thinking of making an Ecological Gift, you should seek independent tax and legal advice before doing so. For more information on the Ecological Gifts Program, visit the page of the Canadian Ecological Gifts Program. You can also view the Outreach Booklet from the program, which contains basic information about what an ecological gift is, how the process works, and examples of donors and their donations.
The Valhalla Mile was purchased using the Ecological Gifts Program in 2009.