Gifts of Real Property

A gift of your appreciated real property (such as your home, vacation property, vacant land, agricultural land, ranch or commercial property) can make a great contribution to the Zoo.

Here are some of the benefits you may enjoy:

  • Avoid paying capital gains tax.
  • Receive a charitable income tax deduction.
  • Leave a lasting legacy.

Gifts of real estate may include developed property, undeveloped property, or gifts subject to a prior life interest. Prior to acceptance of real estate, the Zoo shall require an initial environmental review of the property to ensure that the property has no environmental damage. Environmental inspection forms are available for this purpose. In the event that the initial inspection reveals a potential problem, the Zoo shall retain a qualified inspection firm to conduct an environmental audit. The cost of the environmental audit shall be an expense of the donor.

Title insurance shall be obtained by the Zoo prior to the acceptance of the real property gift. The cost of this insurance shall generally be an expense of the donor.

Prior to acceptance of the real property, the gift shall be approved by the CEO and the Executive Committee of the Board and by the Zoo’s legal counsel. Criteria for acceptance of the property shall include:

  • Is the property useful for the purpose of the Zoo?
  • Is the property marketable?
  • Are there any restrictions, reservations, easements, or other limitations associated with the property?
  • Are there carrying costs, which may include insurance, property taxes, mortgages, or notes, etc. associated with the property?

Before acceptance, a qualified appraisal firm, totally independent of Zoo, must appraise gifts of real estate. This appraisal will perform three functions:

  • Establish the donor’s tax deduction.
  • Give the Zoo’s accounting department and auditors a reasonable value at which to carry the asset on the Zoo’s books.
  • Establish an asking price for the property.

The donor will be asked to obtain and to pay for this appraisal. The appraisal must be acknowledged by the Zoo in writing and attached to the donor’s tax return.

Unless the Zoo desires to retain the real estate for the Zoo’s use, the property will be listed with a broker or brokers in the area in which the property is located for sale at the appraised value.

The Zoo should be willing to wait a reasonable period of time to receive an offer in this range.

If, because of high taxes or a sizeable mortgage, the Zoo is unwilling to hold the property for a reasonable period and will be forced to cash out as quickly as possible, the prospective donor will be so informed.

The Zoo is required by law to notify IRS of the resale price if the property is sold within two years.