The Land Alliance is pleased to announce that at the end of December 2015, Congress passed, with strong bipartisan support, legislation that makes the enhanced federal tax incentive that supports land conservation PERMANENT. Under the enhanced incentive, an individual landowner can deduct up to 50% of their adjusted gross income (AGI) in any year over a total of 16 years, including the year of the gift. Qualified farmers can deduct up to 100% of their AGI over 16 years.

The incentive is directly responsible for conserving more than two million acres of land throughout the United States and is retroactive to January 1, 2015. Lands placed into conservation easements continue to be privately owned and help conserve groundwater, surface water, wildlife habitat, farming and recreational opportunities. Conservation easements do not require public access and rely on tax incentives, providing a cost effective approach to conserving our community’s most valuable natural resources.

The Enhanced Federal Tax Incentives were originally put into place in 2006 and we thank all of those in the community who have worked tirelessly to get this legislation passed. In particular, we’d like to thank Representatives Kathleen Rice, Peter King and Grace Meng in the United States House of Representatives and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer in the United States Senate. Our country loses three acres of land to development every minute and 1.5 million acres every year. Once the land is gone, it is gone forever.

You can read more government update in our 2016 Spring Conservation News newsletter.