American Friend’s Cross-border Conservation Program is all about transactions that involve the protection of an important Canadian property that is owned by a U.S. taxpayer and a Canadian charity or government agency. Successful completion of these transactions requires an understanding of tax laws, real estate practices and conservation procedures from both countries.

The documents and links provided below offer insights into the evolving field of cross-border conservation. Click on the icon or title to download the resource document.

Cross Border Guide

Nova Scotia Nature Trust created this complete overview in 2006 as part of its leadership role in cross-border conservation. Much of the information contained in the Guide is still current and it remains the most thorough primer on the opportunities and challenges associated with American Friends’ work. Because American Friends was in its infancy in 2006 information about the organization is outdated. New versions of all the Fact Sheets mentioned in the Guide are available through the links that follow. These should be the readers’ source of information about American Friends.

Fact Sheet for Prospective Donors of Conservation Gifts

Your land in Canada is a treasure. It is likely a place where your family has gathered, maybe for generations. Favorite memories have been created and renewed there. Perhaps the property is a financially valuable business asset. Or it may be both.

This document was developed to give you basic information about American Friends and how it can help you achieve your conservation and financial objectives.

Fact Sheet for Canadian Land Trusts

This fact sheet provides land trusts with an overview of cross-border conservation gifts to help them successfully complete these transactions, and protect more of Canada’s natural legacy. In addition, this document introduces American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts (American Friends) and explains how a partnership with American Friends can allow a Canadian organization to accomplish its strategic conservation objectives involving American landowners.

Fact Sheet for Appraisers

Guidance on how to order, prepare and review an appraisal to substantiate the value of a conservation gift according to Internal Revenue Service requirements.

Apply For Public Charity Status

There is an important step that Canadian land trusts involved in cross-border conservation gifts may want to take in order to maximize tax benefits for donors and to eliminate potential tax problems for donors. This step is required to meet U.S. tax law requirements for land trusts interested in accepting cross-border transfers of conservation easement or other partial interests in land from the American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts.

Fact Sheet for Land Owner / Donor Advisors

Attorneys, accountants and estate planners representing US taxpayers who own land in Canada need to understand the substantial tax benefits available in connection with gifts of land or interests in land. US professionals are often unaware of the potentially onerous Canadian capital gains taxes triggered by transferring real property, even by gift or devise.

This document was developed to give land owners or donor advisors basic information about these topics generally and about American Friends specifically.

Sample Appraiser Declaration

Declaration by an appraiser that he or she is a certified and qualified appraiser for the state in which the property is located.

Application for Canada Revenue Agency Certificate of Compliance for Non-Resident Dispositions of Land

Because there is a deemed capital gain on gifts of land or interests in land in Canada (easements/covenants/servitudes), donors must go through a specific process with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to avoid paying capital gains tax. For non-resident donors, this includes an approval by the CRA which must be complete prior to closing the land transactions. The procedures as required by the CRA are outlined in the attached document.

Cottage Succession

“Cottage Succession” encompasses the myriad of legal, financial and familial issues connected to passing vacation property from one generation to the next.  Conservation can be an integral aspect of cottage succession planning when the property includes natural areas that deserve protection. David Fry of Cottage Law, in Michigan, wrote the attached overview and offers an excellent book on the topic.