In December 2015, Congress made permanent the enhanced federal tax incentive for conservation easement donations. If you own land with important natural resources that qualifies for a conservation easement, donating a conservation easement to a land trust like the Lake Placid Land Conservancy may allow you to deduct all or part of the value of a qualified conservation easement from your federal taxable income. The enhanced incentives recently passed by Congress and made permanent:
- Raises the deduction a donor can take for donating a conservation easement from 30percent of his or her income in any year to 50 percent; and
- allows qualifying farmers and ranchers to deduct up to 100 percent of their income; and
- Extends the carry-forward period for a donor to take tax deductions for a voluntary conservation easement from 5 to 15 years.
These changes apply to donations made at any time in 2015 and to all donations made after that. This is a powerful tool for allowing modest-income donors to receive greater credit for donating a very valuable conservation easement on property they own. For land trusts, this translates to the possibility of protecting much more land through the use of conservation easements.