Conservation Easements Encouraged by New Tax Rules

Today’s Gazette reports that a panel discussion entitled “Meet the Conservation Landowners: An Highland Communities Initiative Event” will take place at 7pm tonight at the barn on the William Cullen Bryant Homestead, 207 Bryant Road in Cummington. The article notes how the donation of development rights to property is encouraged by new tax rules.

Panel to share insights on property conservation

Landowners who place their land in conversation restrictions, or easements, sell or donate the development rights to their land, but continue to live on it…

The new Federal Farm Bill passed in May increased the one-time charitable tax deduction a farmer can take as federal income tax deduction when he donates the development right of his property, from 50 percent to 100 percent. The increase for a non-farming landowner increased from 30 percent to 50 percent. The bill also expanded the number of years that people can take the charitable tax deduction for making a donation of their property, from six years to 16.

“About two weeks ago they made this change retroactive, for people who placed restrictions on their land, from the beginning of 2008 through 2009,” said Sweetser. “Say a person donated a property worth a million. An ordinary person can use this donation for 16 years.”

For more information, call 268-8219.

See also:

Conservation Easements Preserve Land, with Potential Tax Benefits (8/10/07)
Conservation easements are booming, reports The New York Times (“Love That View?”, June 29, 2007). The Land Trust Alliance
says they’re up 148% since 2000. Landowners give up the right to
develop a parcel, conveying it to a nonprofit land trust. To earn a tax
benefit, the land “must be a habitat for certain types of wildlife, or
abut a public waterway or wetlands, or have a scenic or recreational
quality for the community.”