October 3, 2014
Authored by: Andrew Bleyer and John P. Barrie
The increasingly popular conservation easement charitable deduction allows a landowner to deduct a portion of the value of a piece of land by limiting the land’s use. In a typical scenario, a landowner records a conservation easement on the land and then donates the conservation easement to a conservation organization. The landowner receives an appraisal of the value of (i) the developable land and (ii) the land once the conservation easement has been recorded. The landowner then deducts the difference as a charitable contribution. In such a scenario, Section 170 of the tax code allows a deduction as long as the easement is perpetual, made to a qualified organization, and for a valid conservation purpose.
The typical scenario is changing, however, as more and more landowners are holding their property in trust. When