Tax reduction for participation in the purchase of national treasures

Verified 11 April 2024 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

When a company participates in the purchase of a national treasure by the State, the latter may be granted a tax reduction. To qualify, several conditions must be met.

In order to benefit from the tax reduction, the company must participate in the purchase of a cultural property qualified as national treasureby the Ministry of Culture.

Cultural property must fill any of the following to qualify as a national treasure:

  • Belong to public collections, including those of museums in France
  • To be classified as a historical monument and a public archive
  • Have a major interest in the national heritage from a historical, artistic, archeological point of view or knowledge of the French language and regional languages.

Example :

Paintings, manuscripts, sculptures, photographs, antique furniture.

Apart from these three cases, the property does not have the status of national treasure and participation in its purchase by the company does not qualify for a tax reduction.

The tax reduction is only available to businesses subject to business tax (IS), automatically (automatically) or by option. This may be a private or public company.

Please note

Companies partially exempt from business tax may benefit from the tax reduction. On the other hand, fully exempt businesses are excluded from the scheme.

In order to benefit from the tax reduction, the company must realize a donation to the State for the purchase of a national treasure. However, other conditions must also be respected.

Refusal to issue export licenses

The national treasury must have been the subject of a refusal to issue an export license by the minister responsible for culture.

In principle, the purpose of the export certificate is to authorize the owner of the goods to export their goods outside the customs territory. However, this certificate may be refused to cultural objects having the character of national treasures.

Refusal to grant may only take place after a reasoned opinion has been given by a joint committee chaired by a member of the Council of State and composed of representatives of the State and qualified persons.

Offer to purchase by the State

The national treasury must be subject to a offer to purchase by the State, on his behalf or on behalf of another public person.

The State may present to the owner, in the 30-month period following the refusal to issue a certificate, an offer to purchase taking account of prices on the international market.

If the owner of the property does not accept the offer to purchase within 3 months, the State may to make an assessment to fix the price of the property. The State then has 2 months from the date of submission of the expert report to send the owner a purchase offer at expert value.

In the absence of an offer to purchase after this period, the owner may no longer be refused the export license.

Please note

Where the State and the owner have agreed on the transfer price of a cultural object, the Minister responsible for culture may publish a notice in the Official Journal addressed to companies eligible for the tax reduction.

Procedure for accepting donations

To qualify for the tax reduction, donations made by the company must be accepted by the minister responsible for the budget and the minister responsible for culture.

First of all, the company must to submit an offer of gifts (in duplicate) to the Minister responsible for Culture, for the attention of the Director of Museums of France, French Museums Service.

Who shall I contact

This offer must contain the following information:

  • Identity of the company offering the donation
  • Amount of the envisaged grant
  • National treasury for which a gift is being considered

Model Letter of Offer to Pay to the Crown for the Acquisition of a National Treasure

Please note

Several companies may participate in the purchase by the State of a single national treasure.

The Minister responsible for culture has a two-month period to review the donation offer:

  • If the offer is rejected, it shall inform the company thereof before the expiry of that period.
  • If the offer is accepted, he shall submit the matter to the minister responsible for the budget within the same period.

The joint decision of the Ministers shall be notified to the company by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt at the latest 3 months after the date of receipt of the offer of donation.


If no reply is received within this period, the tender shall be considered rejected.

If the offer is accepted, the company must pay the money to the accounting officer of thePublic establishment of the Meeting of National Museums and the Grand Palais (RMN-GP)). The arrangements for payment shall be laid down in the decision of acceptance.

If the acquisition procedure fails of the cultural property for which a gift would have been accepted, the benefit of the tax reduction remains vested in the company.

In this case, the Minister responsible for culture and the Minister responsible for the budget propose that the company allocate the payments received to the acquisition of one or more national treasures within 12 months. If the company refuses, the latter loses the benefit of the tax reduction and its payment is returned to it.

The tax reduction is equal to 90% payments made by the company for the purchase of the national treasury.

Nevertheless, the reduction cannot be greater than 50% of the amount of tax due by the company in respect of the financial year in which the gift was made.

Reductions and tax credits for the year

Example :

A company shall, in its fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, make a payment of €39,000 for the acquisition by the State of a national treasury.

For this fiscal year, the business tax payable by the company is €63,000.

The tax reduction available to the applicant is calculated as follows:

90% of €39,000 = €35,100 of reduction limited to 50% of €63,000, or a tax reduction of €31,500.

Please note

Payments shall not be not deductible for the determination of taxable profit.

For businesses (subsidiaries) members of an integrated group, the 50% shall apply for the whole group by reference to the tax payable by the parent business.

Who can help me?

The public service accompanying companies

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