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Woodlots, Taxes and Succession Planning


Income tax rules and tax planning opportunities with respect to woodlots are complex.  Of necessity, this page will discuss issues from a broad perspective only. It will not attempt to investigate all the traps and pitfalls of the increasingly technical legislation. 

In the application of any of the following items discussed to a particular situation, competent professional assistance is highly recommended.

VIDEO:  Woodlot Income Tax and Estate Planning
recorded October 11, 2023

The NBFWO hosted a webinar October 11th, 2023, regarding 'Woodlot Income Tax and Estate Planning'.  

 Topics for this webinar include:

  • Woodlot tax liability on death

  • Successful estate planning

  • Estate planning tools

  • Transfer  of your woodlot during your lifetime

  • Other considerations when planning your future

Everyone who registered for the webinar can now access the video recording below. 

  • You will need to sign in using the email address you gave when registering. 

  • If you are not already a member of the NBFWO, you will also need to set a password as well to access the video.

For those that did not register for the webinar, you will need to pay the fee to view the video, click here to pay to view

Woodlot Income Tax And Estate Planning

Woodlot Income Tax And Estate Planning

Play Video

We are looking for a volunteer to help us translate the slide deck into French.  Contact if you are interested in helping.

Woodlots, Intergenerational Transfer & Taxes

During the Q & A session after the webinar, there were several questions regarding Intergenerational Transfer of land.  The following is a summary of researched answers by the accountants that they provided later. 

(Funding for additional accountant time to research this was provided through NWAI's Nashwaak Forest Stewardship Program)

From the legislation it seems that if a forest owner has a woodlot and is operating within the recommendations of a “prescribed  management plan,” they are likely able to transfer their woodlot to a child upon their death without the child incurring capital gains

What is unclear is whether the woodlot has to be operated with commercial intent to qualify for this (as is suggested by this archived bulletin). Tending to the woodlot as prescribed in the management plan will be required to pass the test for “regular and continuous” operation.  But having a reasonable expectation of profit may also be required (qualifying the woodlot as a commercial or commercial farm woodlot).  This
doesn’t have to mean clearcutting – it could also be income from commercial thinning, etc.  Discussions with CRA did not suggest this was a requirement, but the parties we spoke with also weren’t confident in their answers.  There appears to be no case law to suggest one way or the other. 


There is a risk that CRA would not allow the deferred capital gains tax if the conditions for commercial intent were not met.

Either way, having a prescribed management plan is a good thing and can help to achieve conservation as well as commercial objectives.

Documenting the date, costs, and time spent on all forest management activities is highly recommended in case proof of activities and intent are necessary.

Succession planning and estate planning

Succession planning and estate planning are crucial for ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your loved ones are taken care of after you're gone.  Here are a few items to consider in relation to your woodlot:

  • Decide what you want to happen to your woodlot, whether it should be sold, transferred to beneficiaries, or donated.

  • Create a will outlining how you want your assets distributed upon your death.  This should include appointing an executor to manage the distribution.

  • Consider establishing trusts to manage assets for minors, individuals with special needs, or to minimize estate taxes.

  • Make provisions for paying off debts and estate taxes to avoid burdening your beneficiaries.

  • Consider how your decisions may affect family relationships and try to minimize potential conflicts.

  • Consult with an attorney who specializes in estate planning to ensure that your plan is legally sound and meets your goals.

By considering these factors and working with professionals as needed, you can create a comprehensive estate plan that protects your assets and ensures your wishes are carried out.

Donating land

Donating land can be a meaningful way to contribute to a cause you care about, whether it's conservation, preserving natural habitats, supporting community development, or advancing educational initiatives.  In the process of donating land, you transfer ownership of the property to a nonprofit organization, government entity, or charitable trust.  This act can have significant benefits for both the donor and the recipient, but it's essential to understand the process and implications before proceeding.

Introduction to Donating Land:

Donating land is a philanthropic gesture that can leave a lasting impact on the community and the environment. Whether you own undeveloped land, a working farm, or property with conservation value, donating it can provide numerous benefits, including tax deductions, preserving natural resources, and supporting charitable missions.

Key Considerations:

  1. Identify Your Objectives: Before donating land, clarify your objectives and determine the cause or organization you wish to support. Whether it's environmental conservation, wildlife habitat preservation, or community development, understanding your goals will guide the donation process.

  2. Assess the Property: Evaluate the characteristics and value of the land you intend to donate. Factors such as location, size, ecological significance, development potential, and market value will influence the suitability of the donation and its impact on the recipient organization.

  3. Research Recipient Organizations: Research nonprofit organizations, land trusts, government agencies, or educational institutions that accept land donations. Ensure that the recipient organization's mission aligns with your values and goals for the property.

  4. Consult Legal and Financial Advisors: Seek guidance from legal and financial advisors to understand the legal, tax, and financial implications of donating land. An attorney specializing in real estate and charitable giving can help navigate the complexities of the donation process and maximize tax benefits.

  5. Consider Conservation Easements: In some cases, donors may choose to retain ownership of the land while granting a conservation easement to a land trust or conservation organization. This arrangement allows the donor to conserve the land's natural resources while potentially retaining certain property rights.

  6. Understand Tax Implications: Donating land can offer significant tax benefits, including income tax deductions, reduced estate taxes, and avoidance of capital gains taxes. However, it's essential to understand the specific tax rules and limitations associated with land donations, as they vary based on factors such as property value, ownership duration, and recipient organization.

  7. Complete the Donation Process: Once you've selected a recipient organization and consulted with legal and financial advisors, work with the organization to complete the donation process. This typically involves transferring ownership through a deed or other legal documents and fulfilling any additional requirements specified by the recipient.

  8. Celebrate Your Contribution: Donating land is a meaningful act of philanthropy that can have a lasting impact on future generations. Celebrate your contribution to conservation, community development, or other charitable causes, knowing that your generosity has made a difference.

By understanding the donation process, consulting with experts, and selecting the right recipient organization, you can ensure that your land donation achieves your objectives and leaves a positive legacy for the future.

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