Monday, August 8, 2016
Land Conservation and Federal Tax Credits for Donating Land for the Benefit of the Community.
If you own land or look to buy certain land than a land conservation land trust maybe a great option. The type of land that may fit this scenario is land for open space, or historically important property. Ideally land in the Antelope Valley in a wildlife habitat area or a water critical area. There are many areas in Antelope Valley where endangered plant and animal species live. If a person owns land that fits these scenarios than a land conservation easement could be done. A land conservation easement is a permanent, legally enforceable agreement between a property owner and a land trust or government entity. The agreement is recorded with the county, so it will ensure the parcel can further serve its conservation purposes in the future. The way it works is that is a person or entity owns conservation land then they contract with one of a thousand local land trusts. If the land trust deems your parcel fits the conservation need and IRS guidelines than the property maybe eligible for future tax breaks. It can also be a portion of your land that fits the conservation such as a river or creek that runs through the parcel. So for example, say you own farmland with an income is $200,000. Part of your land has a river or some conservation value to it. So you donate that easement worth $500,000 (If that is what the appraiser indicates. Then you the farmer, rancher or forester can now deduct the full $200,000 in the year they donated the easement, and their full income in each subsequent year, until the entire $500,000 deduction is reached. Or you can deduct a portion of it over sixteen years until the $500k amount is reached. There also maybe property taxes deducted. But once you donate this land or easement then it is permanent. You can’t undo the land trust and conservation of the land. It is also possible that if your land parcel has endangered species on it like the burrowing owl, kangaroo squirrel, desert tortoise, California poppy’s or other endangered species than a conservation group may wish to buy you land parcel. In many cases developers are forced to buy conservation land in exchange for developing somewhere else. So it you sell or donate your appraised land then you get the tax deduction of the donation value. It is not a bad deal for land owners who find out that their land is only worth the value of the preservation of the land and plant and animal itself. In some cases a tax break is better than selling the land itself.