Now Permanent: Enhanced Federal Tax Incentive for Conservation Easement Donations
In 2015, Congress enacted one of the most powerful conservation measures in decades: the enhanced federal tax incentive for conservation easement donations.
The permanent conservation easement tax incentive is a powerful tool that helps Americans conserve their land voluntarily.
For land trusts across the country, the permanent incentive represents vastly increased opportunities to protect the special places in their widely varied communities.
If you own land with important natural, agricultural or historic resources, donating a conservation easement can be a prudent way to both save the land you love forever and to realize significant federal tax savings. The permanent incentive increases the benefits to landowners by:
- Raising the deduction a donor can take for donating a conservation easement to 50%, from 30%, of his or her annual income;
- Extending the carry-forward period for a donor to take a tax deduction for a conservation agreement to 15 years from 5 years; and
- Allowing qualifying farmers and ranchers to deduct up to 100% of their income, increased from 50%.
Using the Conservation Tax Incentive
To learn more about using the conservation tax incentive, click here.
This short brochure summarizes the conservation easement tax incentive and provides answers to some frequently asked questions. For the latest information and for guidance on individual properties, please contact your local land trust, which can be located via Find a Land Trust
There are many people to thank for the 2015 conservation tax incentive victory. We extend one grand thank you from the Land Trust Alliance to all of you.
The Alliance has been leading a team effort to achieve this since 2000, when we convened land trust leaders from across the country to build a consensus on what tax policies would best address the need to expand land conservation.
This legislation would not have happened without the leadership of Senators Dean Heller (NV) and Debbie Stabenow (MI), Representatives Mike Kelly (PA) and Mike Thompson (CA), and many of their colleagues. These leaders know that the conservation work of land trusts is important to their communities and broadly supported by their constituents.