Cultural gifts policy

1.0 Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to outline how the Cultural Gifts Program is administered at the Library and the terms under which collection material is accepted for donation under the program.

2.0 Scope

The scope of this policy applies to any individual or organisation that donates collection material to the Library under the Cultural Gifts Program.

3.0 Definitions

3.1 Cultural gifts program

The Library is eligible to accept donations under the Cultural Gifts Program. The Cultural Gifts Program provides tax incentives to encourage gifts of culturally significant items to Australia's public art galleries, museums, libraries and archives.

The Library is appreciative of the benefits of the Cultural Gifts Program and welcomes offers of materials from individuals and organisations interested in making use of the Program.

Donors can take pride in the knowledge that their gifts contribute to the development of Australia's public collections. The donations also help to preserve Australia's cultural heritage for the benefit of present and future generations.

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development administers the program in accordance with the gift provisions of the income tax law and with the advice of an expert committee, the Committee on Taxation Incentives for the Arts. For more information on this program please consult the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program web page.

3.2 Tax incentives

The Cultural Gifts Program is administered in accordance with the current gift provisions of the income tax law. The general rule is that the average of the current market values specified in valuations from two or more approved valuers for the gift is fully tax deductible. Donors can elect to spread the deduction over a period up to five income years. Gifts are exempt from capital gains tax. The State Library will generally organise valuations, however, where donors organise the valuations they can also claim a tax deduction for the costs of obtaining valuations specifically for this program.

The information above has been sourced from the website of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

4.0 Roles & responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities for accepting donations under the Cultural Gifts Program are stated in the Donations policy.

5.0 Policy contents

5.1 Acceptance of gifts by the State Library Victoria 

Acceptance of donations is not necessarily automatic. Donations are subject to the same guidelines and collecting considerations that are applied to purchased material. The costs of cataloguing, storage and conservation are also important considerations in determining acceptance. This should apply also to subsequent gifts from the same donor. Photocopies and other copies of some types of unique materials may be accepted, provided they only form part of a larger gift and on the understanding thact they will be given a low monetary value by the valuers.

5.2 Minimum value of gifts

Cultural gift donations are not accepted if it is evident that their market value is very low. At the very least, the value must exceed the cost of the valuers' fees and the administrative costs incurred by the Library in arranging valuations and preparing the paperwork. The minimum value that is acceptable is likely to vary according to format, as the costs of organising valuations differ considerably. Material that clearly has a value of less than AUD$1,000 is not accepted and only in special circumstances are gifts worth less than AUD$2,000 accepted. If the material offered is of low market value donors are asked to consider making it an outright gift or, if this is not acceptable, offering it for purchase.

5.3 Access restrictions

The Library does not usually accept donations with access restrictions. In the case of manuscripts the Library is willing to accept materials that will be held under closed or restricted access, provided that such restrictions are reasonable, for example, a specified embargo period or supported by legislation. However, as restrictions affect the market value of the material (on the assumption that most potential buyers would not be willing to accept any restrictions on use), the Library seeks to establish at an early stage if restrictions are likely. If so, it informs the valuers accordingly. Manuscript valuers have been directed by the Taxation Incentives for the Arts Committee to take into account access restrictions.

5.4 Ownership of content

Where the donor owns the copyright of the gift being donated they are required to indicate whether they are transferring the ownership of copyright of the gift. In some instances, particularly with offers of photographs, the Library may decide to decline the gift unless copyright is transferred. In other cases, the gift may be accepted, but the valuers will be notified that copyright has not been acquired and this is likely to affect the valuation.

5.5 Ownership of materials

The Library will establish at the time of accepting a gift who holds the main legal title to the material. In the case of complex collections, however, the question of some items belonging to others may arise only after detailed examination, especially if valuation takes place before the gift is actually received by the Library. Valuers are required to draw to the Library's attention any groups of material or items that probably should not form part of the collection. If there is any uncertainty, the Library seeks clarification before the paperwork is finalised. Materials acquired by donors in the course of their official duties will normally be excluded from valuations or will only be valued at a nominal amount.

5.6 Artist or dealer trading stock

If an artist or dealer makes a gift which is part of their trading stock, the deduction will be restricted to the cost of acquiring or producing the item(s). If the donation is not trading stock, that is, it is from the donor's personal collection, the donor must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Commissioner of Taxation that the item(s) were not held for commercial gain.

5.7 Commissioning of valuations

While donors are entitled to arrange their own valuations, the Library prefers to commission the two valuations and pay the valuers' fees. The valuers who are selected are known to have expertise and experience in assessing the category of material, they have a full understanding of the requirements of the Program, they have proved to be prompt and reliable, and they charge reasonable fees. Valuers must be chosen from the List of approved valuers document published regularly by the Committee on Taxation Incentives for the Arts (available on the Cultural Gifts Program page of the Office for the Arts website). Approved Valuers must comply with the Program's Code of conduct for valuers (available on the Forms and certificates page of the Office for the Arts website, under 'Information for valuers').

5.8 Acceptance of valuations by the Library

Where the valuations show an unusually wide variation and there is no explanation to justify the variation the Taxation Incentives for the Arts Committee will require the State Library to obtain a third valuation. The Library will then normally submit to the Taxation Incentives for the Arts Committee the two closest valuations, but if the discrepancies are still marked it may submit all three valuations. Library staff do not seek to influence the valuers in any way, though they may express views if asked by valuers.

5.9 Acceptance of valuations by donors

Cultural gift donations are expected to be unconditional of the valuation, and if the Library arranges the valuations there is no requirement that the donors approve the valuations. Nevertheless, the Library does inform donors of the average of the two valuations before submitting them to the Taxation Incentives for the Arts Committee. If donors are unhappy with the valuations, they are free to arrange new valuations, in which case the Library would submit all the valuations to the Taxation Incentives for the Arts Committee. Failing that, the Library will consider returning the gifts. In such cases, it expects the donors to reimburse it for the cost of the valuations.