Tax Benefits

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ZiehmLandowners who grant conservation easements may be entitled to tax benefits. Some general information about these tax benefits are outlined below. ASA cannot provide legal or tax advice, so we highly recommend that you consult with your professional tax advisor as to whether or not you would be eligible.

Federal and State Charitable Deductions

Currently, landowners who donate or do bargain sale conservation easements may qualify for charitable tax deductions. Landowners may be eligible to deduct the value of the conservation easement (or the portion not compensated for if doing a bargain sale) up to 50% of their adjusted gross income and to carry forward the unused value for up to 15 years. Qualifying farmers may deduct up to 100% of their adjusted gross income. Note: Unless Congress makes this tax incentive permanent by the end of 2009, easements granted in 2010 and thereafter will have tax deductions limited to 30% of the landowner’s adjusted gross income instead of 50% and may carry forward the unused value for up to five years instead of 15 years. For more information about tax incentives, check here.

New York State Conservation Easement Tax Credit (CETC)

The CETC offers taxpayers whose land is restricted by a conservation easement an annual NYS income tax credit of up to 25% of the school district, county and town real estate taxes paid on the protected property (not structures). The annual maximum credit is $5,000 per taxpayer. More information about the CETC can be found here.

Estate Taxes

Conservation easements may help with estate planning. Conservation easements reduce the value of the property and thus may help reduce the value of the estate and estate taxes owed, if applicable. Conservation easements can be conveyed during one’s lifetime or via will. Additional exclusions may apply to qualifying conservation easements further lowering the value of the estate. Note: From 2001-2010, the federal estate tax is being phased out. However, after 2010, the entire estate tax is reinstated unless Congress acts to do otherwise.

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