Winter 2016 | Vol 9 | No 1
Victory for Land Conservation – Federal Tax Incentives Made Permanent
Hailed as the most significant conservation legislation in 20 years, the enhanced Federal tax incentives for conservation easement donations are now permanent! After bipartisan support in Congress, President Obama signed legislation in December that:
Raises the deduction a donor can take for donating a conservation easement from 30 percent of his or her income in any year to 50 percent;
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 agreement from 5 to 15 years.
According to Rand Wentworth, President of the Land Trust Alliance, the incentives are “a powerful tool for allowing modest-income donors to receive greater credit for donating a very valuable conservation easement on property they own.”
Enacted as a temporary provision in 2006, the incentives are directly responsible for conserving more than 2 million acres of America’s natural outdoor heritage. The incentive grants certain tax benefits to landowners who sign a conservation easement.
These private, voluntary agreements with land trusts like Tall Timbers permanently limit use of the land in order to protect its conservation value. Lands placed into conservation easements can continue to be timbered, farmed, hunted and managed based on the objectives of the landowner. Today, nearly 100 families have donated conservation easements to Tall Timbers. These easements protect over 128,000 acres of working and recreational hunting lands that conserve critical habitat for wildlife conservation.
For more about the incentive download a printer-friendly brochure (Using The Conservation Tax Incentive) for landowners, including frequently asked questions. Also, read a memo from the Internal Revenue Service (Internal Revenue Bulletin) offering guidance regarding deductions by individuals for qualified conservation contributions.
All of us at Tall Timbers are immensely grateful to Representatives Gwen Graham (D-Dist.2, FL) and Austin Scott (R-Dist. 8, GA) and Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL), Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA) for helping make this federal tax incentive permanent.
The Land Trust Alliance led its more than 1,100 member land trusts and five million supporters through a collaborative, multi-year campaign to secure the incentive’s permanency. According to Kevin McGorty, Director of the Tall Timbers Land Conservancy, “the Alliance’s long perseverance and dedication was key in getting the incentive made permanent. Those efforts will forever leave an imprint on the land helping communities across the nation save the places they love and cherish.”
Tall Timbers has saved over 128,000 acres through donated conservation easements with nearly 100 families in the Greater Red Hills Region. These easements protect miles of scenic canopy roads, pastoral countryside, spectacular river and lake corridors, longleaf pinelands, and critical wildlife habitats. Photo by Bill McDavid