Congress Passes Land Conservation Tax Incentive

A bipartisan congressional vote makes permanent a federal tax incentive supporting land conservation.

As reported by the Department of Natural Resources, in a bipartisan action Congress passed the America Gives More Act, a package of tax incentives to encourage charitable giving that included a tax incentive for land conservation.

From the Department,

Farmers, ranchers and the public will directly benefit from the incentive that encourages landowners to place a conservation easement on their property to protect important natural, scenic and historic resources. The Maryland Environmental Trust was among the 1,100 land trusts to support the incentive through a collaborative, multi-year campaign.

“This is a momentous vote,” Maryland Environmental Trust Director Bill Leahy said. “I’m excited to see this legislation pass. It will give a huge boost to private landowners all across the country, and in Maryland, who are seeking to preserve their family land and way of life for their children and our communities that depend on them.”

First enacted as a temporary provision in 2006, the incentive is directly responsible for conserving more than two million acres of America’s natural outdoor heritage. The incentive grants certain tax benefits to landowners who sign a conservation easement. Such private, voluntary agreements with local land trusts permanently limit uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. Lands placed into conservation easements can continue to be farmed, hunted or used for other specified purposes. The lands also remain on county tax rolls, strengthening local economies.

Once signed into law, the incentive will be applied retroactively to Jan. 1, 2015. An earlier version of the incentive expired Dec. 31, 2014.

For more information, see the full article from the Department of Natural Resources.