Congress fails to renew enhanced tax incentive

After recruiting a record of 293 House co-sponsors for the Conservation Easement Incentive Act, more than any other tax bill last year, Congress ran out of time and failed to pass the bill before the incentives expired at the end of 2011.

The legislation to make the incentive permanent (H.R. 1964 and S. 339) is championed by the chairs of the Senate Finance and House Ways & Means Committees, both of whom view it as an important part of their legacy. Therefore, there will be another attempt this year to make the incentives permanent.

Conservation easements donated in 2012 will still be tax deductible and will be treated just like any other non-cash charitable donation — deductible up to 30% of a donor’s income for up to six years.

According to the Land Trust Alliance, potential donors should “run the numbers — some donors, particularly those with larger incomes, will find that the incentive’s expiration makes little difference.” For an update, visit the Alliance’s Website for Frequently Asked Questions and Conservation Donation Rules pages for donated conservation easements.

Tall Timbers will continue to work with the Alliance and numerous other land trusts to encourage Congress to move forward in making the incentives permanent in 2012.

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