Tax incentives for land conservation offset part of the loss in property value when a landowner donates an easement, which makes conservation a viable option for many landowners. While tax incentives for voluntary private land conservation have proven to be successful, helping land trusts to protect more than 61 million acres nationwide, they have also led to major policy issues for our community.

Income tax incentives for land conservation

In 2015, Congress enacted one of the most powerful conservation measures in decades: the enhanced federal tax incentive for conservation easement donations. The permanent conservation easement tax incentive is an important tool that helps Americans conserve their land voluntarily.

For land trusts across the country, the permanent incentive represents vastly increased opportunities to protect the special places in their widely varied communities.

If you own land with important natural, agricultural or historic resources, donating a conservation easement can be a prudent way to both save the land you love forever and to realize significant federal tax savings.

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Tax issues

The Alliance will continue to work passionately to improve and advance tax policies that secure resources for land trusts and accelerates the pace of voluntary private land conservation. To that end, the following reflects our policy priorities when it comes to tax issues:

Promoting IRS reforms

The IRS continues to focus on innocent donor documentation mistakes (often called “foot faults”) that result in disqualification of truly charitable donations. The Alliance is working to safeguard these donations by pursuing legislation that reorients the IRS from focusing on such minor mistakes. Additionally, the Alliance is actively working with Congress to exempt conservation donations from the state and local tax limitation.