DEFINITION of 'Fractional Gift'
A gift that provides a fractional interest in an artwork today, while providing the rest of the interest over a period of time. A fractional gift may allow the donor to still display the work at a non-museum location for a period of time, possibly by alternating time periods with its display at the museum.
BREAKING DOWN 'Fractional Gift'
A fractional gift may be given by a donor who wants to ultimately provide a piece of art to a museum, but who is not ready to fully part with the item presently. The donor will still be able to enjoy a charitable income tax deduction, though the percentage deduction is open to more stringent regulations. Because the Internal Revenue Service discourages fractional gifts, the donor is able to take the less of two values when deducting: 1) an amount based off of the work’s value when the installments began, or 2) the fair market value at a subsequent installment. This means that the donor doesn’t get a larger deduction if the work appreciates in value, and doesn’t get the original value if the work depreciates in value.
Fractional gifts are most likely to be used by donors who are less concerned with obtaining tax deductions from the donation.