Donating a conservation restriction (called a conservation easement in other states) is a great way to ensure that land that is special to you is protected in perpetuity.
A conservation restriction is a legal agreement that extinguishes some or all of the development rights of the land forever, but allows your other rights such as farming, forestry, and recreation to continue, all while maintaining your ownership of the land.
What can often be a limiting factor in such a donation is the loss of property value. For a landowner of moderate income, this may be a serious barrier.
A means of working around this barrier is through the use of tax incentives that allow landowners to take a deduction at some percentage of their annual income. While tax deductions have been in place for a number of years Congress, in 2015, made the federal tax incentive for conservation easement donation permanent.
Among other things, this permanent tax incentive makes it possible for landowners to receive a deduction on a greater percentage of their income. Likewise, they can receive the deduction over multiple years, meaning that if their income in a single year isn’t high enough to compensate the landowner for their land donation they do not loose out on the benefits of such a tax break.
With this recognition by Congress to make the federal tax incentives for donating land permanent more landowners can make the decision to conserve the land they love while still being able to make ends meet.
To read more about this incentive and see frequently asked questions click here.
To read more about conservation restrictions head over to MassWoods.
To read stories of families who have used conservation restrictions click here.