Conservation Tax Incentive Renewed for 2011
Congress just renewed a tax incentive for private landowners—especially working farmers and forest land owners—who protect their land with a voluntary conservation easement. The incentive, which had expired at the end of 2009, has helped the Forest Society and willing landowners throughout the state to conserve thousands of acres between 2006 and 2009.
Conservation-minded landowners now have until December 31, 2011 to take advantage of a significant tax deduction for donating a voluntary conservation agreement to permanently conserve important natural or historic resources on their land. When landowners donate a conservation easement, they maintain ownership and management of their land and can sell or pass the land on to their heirs while foregoing future development rights.
The enhanced incentive applies to a landowner’s federal income tax. It:
- Raises the deduction a donor can take for donating a voluntary conservation agreement from 30% of their income in any year to 50%;
- Allows farmers and some forest landowners to deduct up to 100% of their income; and
- Increases the number of years over which a donor can carry over the deductions from 6 to 16 years.
“Our entire state wins when thoughtful landowners conserve their land this way, protecting wildlife habitat, working forests, clean drinking water, scenic landscapes, recreational spaces, and agricultural lands,” said Forest Society President/Forester Jane Difley. “The Forest Society is grateful to Senators Shaheen and Gregg, along with House members Hodes and Shea Porter, co-sponsored the bill that included this incentive.”
According to the Land Trust Alliance, last year’s bills to make this incentive permanent had 274 House and 41 Senate co-sponsors from all 50 states, including majorities of Democrats and Republicans in the House. This legislation was supported by more than 65 national agricultural, sportsmen’s, and conservation organizations, including the Forest Society.
For more information about the conservation easement incentive, contact Paul Doscher or Tom Howe at the Forest Society, 603-224-9945, or visit www.lta.org/policy.
Founded in 1901, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests is the state’s oldest and largest non-profit land conservation organization. Supported by 10,000 families and businesses, the Forest Society’s mission is to perpetuate the state’s forests by promoting land conservation and sustainable forestry. For more information, visit www.forestsociety.org.