Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act Introduced in Congress
Conservation easements - the voluntary, legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or public agency-permanently limit the uses of the land in order to protect its important conservation values. These agreements are a key option available to landowners who wish to conserve their property for future generations.
By allowing landowners to take a charitable deduction based on the fair market value of a donated easement, the federal conservation easement tax incentive helps conservation-minded landowners who maybe land-rich but cash-poor protect the scenic, recreational, ecological, and natural resources present on their property.
Unfortunately, in recent years a few people have exploited the tax incentive to make fast and unreasonably large profits. In response, the land trust community has been working to address this problem with Members of Congress who recognize this abuse will undermine the public’s confidence in the integrity of conservation easements.
This year, these members have refiled the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act. In order to continue to encourage the spirit of philanthropy behind easement donations, especially here in New Hampshire, it disallows a charitable deduction only when a profit is made in a short time from when a conservation easement is donated. It does not focus on easement donations involving land that has been family-owned or has seen a fair or reasomable rise in value.
The Forest Society appreciates the support of New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation who all have supported the bill since it was first introduced in 2018. We would encourage readers to thank Senator Hassan for her co-sponsorship this year.