When landowners choose to conserve their land there are several different ways to achieve that end. One important tool is a conservation easement, a voluntary, perpetual agreement between a landowner and a qualified conservation organization, such as the Land Alliance, that restricts the use of the land to protect its conservation values.
Since 1979, donations of qualified conservation easements have been eligible for federal tax deductions. To date, according to the National Conservation Easement Database, over 201,525 easements have been donated protecting 33,527,688 acres of land.
Unfortunately, there has been some abuse of these tax deductions. In rare, but harmful, instances, appraisals have been inflated in transactions known as “syndications”. These abuses have jeopardized the integrity of conservation easements and the tax incentive that has helped thousands of Americans voluntarily conserve millions of acres of their own land.
Now the syndications will be halted thanks to the federal spending bill signed into law by the President on December 29, 2022. Included in the law was the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act, targeted legislation that will protect conservation easements into the future.
If you are interested in learning more about conservation easements, please contact Andrew Geisel at [email protected] or 516-922-1028.