In December of 2015 Congress made permanent a federal tax incentive for conservation easement donations. This could help thousands of landowners like you conserve your land. Even if you do not qualify or wish not to apply for State or Federal purchase of your easement (a competitive, 2-year process), you can use this tax incentive to make the perpetual protection of your land easier. To learn more, read this informative Land Trust Alliance Brochure about using the Conservation Tax Incentive.
What is this tax credit for?
This tax credit is for landowners who would like to have their land protected from present and future development – landowners who would prefer that their land remain in use as farmland, prairie, stream, forest and/or other natural habitat. This decision is written into a legal agreement called a Conservation Easement which would be donated to Three Valley Conservation Trust (an Accredited Land Trust and 501c3 charitable organization) to be held, monitored and legally defended, in perpetuity (regardless of subsequent owner).
What is a Conservation Easement?
A Conservation Easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust (like Three Valley Conservation Trust), that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. It allows landowners to continue to own and use their land, sell it and/or pass it on to their heirs.
When you donate a conservation easement to a land trust, you give up some rights associated with the land – often the ability to build additional structures and/or pave over additional land. That said, each conservation easement is unique and may make provisions for future structures, may not apply to the entire property and also need not require public access.
How does the Tax Incentive Work?
The tax incentive works by allowing you to deduct the fair market value of your easement donation, up to 50% of your yearly income (100% if you are a qualified farmer or rancher – see the LTA brochure for more details) for 5 to 15 consecutive years – as the donated value is often too large for landowners take the entire deduction in a single year.
Can I donate ownership of my land to take advantage of this tax incentive?
No. This tax incentive was designed for use by owners who wish to retain ownership of their land. That said, as a landowner you are free to sell your land at any time. Please note that Three Valley Conservation Trust is not an organization prepared to farm, maintain or rent land on a long term basis, and as such we try very hard to avoid owing land outright.
Do you still have questions? Want to know more?
Of course, there’s more detail in this lovely LTA Brochure. If your property is in Butler or Preble county, feel free to call (513-524-2150) or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information on the tax deduction and/or putting an easement on your land.
Thanks for your interest in conserving land in Southwest Ohio!