Cultural property may be publicly or privately owned and may be exported only in exceptional cases. The most important obligations are care and maintenance of the property and public accessibility, with the right, under certain conditions, to receive compensation from the budget for some maintenance costs. The owners of cultural property enjoy tax and duty benefits.
The Law on the Protection of Cultural Assets, 1999 introduced the obligation of paying a “monument annuity” in case a cultural asset is used in a printed work, for promotion, or when an income or profit is made from an economic activity performed in an immovable cultural asset. This Law was amended in 2003 aiming to improve the system of collecting and distributing funds collected from monument taxes. The 2009 amendments brought changes in regulation of concessions and jurisdictions, while the subsequent changes reflect EU regulations regarding the trafficking and return of cultural goods. The amendments made in 2011 relate to the establishment of the Committee for Complaints and its jurisdiction, and 2012 amendments were related to classification categories of those eligible for monument annuity tax. Additional amendments in 2012 and 2014 relate to the regulations and jurisdictions on movement of cultural assets within the European Union. The 2018 amendments brought about the harmonisation of the Law on the Protection of Cultural Assets with the Law on Museums and the Law on Libraries as well as the changes in: the definition of the cultural assets inscribed in the List of World Heritage or in the List of Endangered World Heritage; the method of determining the boundaries for the cultural landscape and underwater archaeological sites; the provisions on public announcement of registration, change and deletion of a cultural property; separation of underground cultural assets of archaeological significance and other archaeological sites and mining facilities of interest to the Republic of Croatia from the cadastral parcels located above them; regulation of the use of the legal right of first refusal on cultural goods, simplification of the procedure for obtaining a permit to perform activities on the protection and preservation of cultural property.
In June 2018 the new Law on Archival Materials and Archives was adopted. Unlike the old Law that has been in force since 1997, the new Law allows for the transformation from a classic to a digital archive. In accordance with the obligation established by the new Law on Archival Materials and Archives, a National Plan for the Development of Archival Activities for the 2020-2025 period was adopted in 2019 (see chapter 3.2). In 2019, the new Law on Libraries and Library Activity was adopted and it replaced the former Law that was in force since 1997. The new Law regulates library activities, establishment and termination of libraries, organisation and management of libraries, types of libraries, work of the National and University Library in Zagreb and the library system of the Republic of Croatia and other issues of importance for the performance of library activities.
From 2004 until 2011, the preservation of nature was the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture and Media, after which it changed to the remit of the Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection. Responsibility under the current government lies with the Ministry of the Economy and Sustainable Development.