Insights Tax And Estate Planning

Do you collect art, stamps, wine or antiques? You should understand the tax consequences when you dispose of them.
Jamie Golombek and Debbie Pearl-Weinberg Nov. 02, 2023 8-minute read

Personal use property


Sally sells an antique coin for $2,100 which she purchased for $850. Because she paid less than $1,000 for the coin, the cost for purposes of calculating the gain or loss on the sale is increased to $1,000. She is therefore deemed to have an adjusted cost base (or ACB) of $1,000 and when compared to the selling price of $2,100, she will report an $1,100 capital gain for tax purposes.

Ramone owns a classic car that he purchased in 2019 for $155,000. Ramone sells the car in 2023 for $125,000. Ramone will realize a loss of $30,000 ($155,000 - $125,000) on the sale. But, because this is the sale of personal use property, the capital loss will be deemed to be nil and cannot be used to offset any capital gains. Note that the antique car is not “listed personal property,” as described below.

Listed personal property


Assume Bob sells a painting in 2023 for $650,000 which he purchased for $400,000. He realizes a $250,000 ($650,000 - $400,000) capital gain on the sale. If in the same year he also sells a sculpture for $120,000 which he purchased for $200,000, he will realize a capital loss of $80,000 ($200,000 - $120,000). This capital loss can offset the capital gain from the painting Bob sold so that he has a net listed personal property gain of $170,000 ($250,000 - $80,000). This $80,000 loss, however, could not be used to offset a capital gain from anything other than listed personal property. If Bob didn’t have any listed personal property gains in 2023, he could carry the loss back 3 years or forward 7 years to be applied against any listed personal property gains in those tax years.

Sets of collectibles

Tax depreciation

Trusts for minors


If you donate collectibles personally, the donation will usually be eligible for the charitable donation tax credit. A third party valuation may be necessary to establish the fair market value of the property.

If the item donated is deemed “certified cultural property” by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board (the CCPERB) and the gift is made to a Canadian entity that has been designated by the Minister of Canadian Heritage, then an additional tax benefit is that any resulting capital gain will not be subject to tax. Only a designated organization receiving the donation can apply to the CCPERB for certification of an item.

The CCPERB describes cultural property as “artistic, historic, or scientific objects” in different categories, such as:

  • Archaeological objects, fossils and minerals
  • Ethnographic material culture, including Aboriginal, Métis and Inuit objects
  • Military objects
  • Applied, decorative or fine art
  • Musical instruments
  • Audiovisual collections, such as film, video, new media and digital
  • Textual and graphic records and audio-visual recordings of archival material

If you are donating personal use property that has the potential for certification by the CCPERB, consider discussing a potential application for certification with the recipient organization.

1 Certain trusts are excluded from this rule, including spousal, alter-ego and joint-partner trusts.

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Written by

Jamie Golombek, FCPA, CPA, CA, CFP, CLU, TEP
Managing Director, Tax & Estate Planning, CIBC Private Wealth

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Debbie Pearl-Weinberg, LLB
Executive Director, Tax & Estate Planning, CIBC Private Wealth

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