Maximizing Tax Benefits: Donate Land to Island Nature Trust and Boost Conservation with the Federal Ecological Gifts Program

Protecting natural habitats and protecting biodiversity is a vital endeavor for the health of Prince Edward Island (PEI) and future generations. As stewards of the environment, individuals and organizations can contribute significantly to conservation efforts. One impactful way to do so is by donating land to reputable conservation organizations, such as Island Nature Trust (INT). Not only does this act of generosity help safeguard critical ecosystems, but it can also offer tax benefits under the federal Ecological Gifts program. In this article, we will explore the tax advantages associated with donating land to Island Nature Trust and shed light on the importance of the Ecological Gifts program.

1. Protecting Natural Heritage 

INT, PEI’s oldest private land trust, is dedicated to protecting and enhancing natural spaces on PEI, including offshore islands. By donating land to INT, individuals can contribute directly to the protection of sensitive ecosystems, wildlife habitats, and the overall biodiversity of these areas. The donated land remains under the stewardship of the organization, ensuring its long-term conservation for the benefit of present and future generations. Additionally, the land is legally protected in perpetuity through the PEI Natural Areas Protection Act. 

2. The Federal Ecological Gifts Program 

The federal Ecological Gifts program, administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), encourages landowners to donate ecologically sensitive land to eligible conservation organizations. Established in 1995, the program provides tax incentives to individuals and corporations who make such donations. 

3. Tax Benefits for Donors

Donating land to INT through the Ecological Gifts program offers several tax benefits, making it an attractive option for individuals and corporations alike. These benefits include:

Charitable Tax Receipts: Upon donating land, the donor receives a charitable tax receipt for the appraised fair market value of the ecological gift. This receipt can be used to claim a non-refundable tax credit, resulting in a reduction of taxes payable.


Capital Gains Exemption: When a donor gifts ecologically sensitive land, the taxable portion of their capital gain is reduced from 50% of the capital gain to 0% of the capital gain, effectively eliminating  capital gains tax on the appreciated value of the donated land. c. Carry-Forward of Tax Credits: The charitable tax credit has a carry-forward period and can be claimed over 10 years. This provision allows donors to maximize the tax benefits over multiple tax cycles, and is particularly beneficial if the donated land has a high market value that exceeds the donor’s annual income (e.g., cannot be claimed all in one year).


Estate Tax Benefits: Donating land through the Ecological Gifts program can also have estate planning advantages, benefiting both the donor and their heirs.


4. Eligibility and Appraisal Process 

To ensure the ecological significance of the donated land, the Ecological Gifts program follows strict eligibility criteria and requires an independent appraisal. The land must have ecological value, such as critical wildlife habitats, wetlands, forests, or areas with unique ecological features. INT works closely with landowners to determine if a property qualifies for donation and assists in coordinating the appraisal process. 

Final Thoughts 

Donating land to INT under the federal Ecological Gifts program is a powerful way to contribute to the conservation of our natural heritage while enjoying significant tax benefits. By protecting ecologically sensitive land, individuals and corporations can make a lasting impact on biodiversity conservation. The tax advantages provided through the program, including charitable tax receipts, capital gains exemptions, and carry-forward options, further incentivize these donations. Embracing this opportunity not only allows donors to reduce their tax liability but also demonstrates a commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable practices. 

Contact us if you’re interested in donating your land to INT.

Ways To Protect Your Land

Private Stewardship

You can retain ownership of the land and still place it under NAPA protection. Our resource guide “Protecting Natural Places in Prince Edward Island”’ provides more detail on this option.

Donate or Sell Your Land

For those who are able, the act of giving land to a land trust so that it may be protected is the ultimate in generosity. Island Nature Trust profoundly appreciates anyone who considers such a gift. 

We all share a unique connection to nature, and our supporters express it in diverse ways.
They are our Champions of Nature, coming from various backgrounds – from hands-on volunteers to
digital advocates, creative fundraisers, and generous donors.

Are you passionate about hands-on conservation efforts or getting directly involved in nature protection?

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