Tax Deduction Consulting: Conservation Easement Washington DC
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Tax Deduction Consulting: Conservation Easement
Conservation Easement Tax Deduction
The Conservation Easement Tax Deduction is yet another example of the tax laws being used for a purpose other than the collection of government revenue.
Congress has recognized the importance of preservation and conservation of the precious natural and historical resources of our country. One of the methods that has been used to further this purpose is the Conservation Easement Tax Deduction. A Conservation Easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a qualified second party that restricts the development or other use of a certain piece of property. The property must have some scenic, recreational, historic, or even open space value that makes its preservation and protection worthwhile.
The qualified second party may be a municipality or a land protection agency, also known as a land trust. The purpose of the easement must be conservation. When these conditions are met, the difference between the value of the land before the easement and the value of the land after the easement may be taken as a tax deduction. The current law allows this deduction to be up to 50% of the adjusted gross income (AGI) of the taxpayer. The remaining balance may be taken over a period of 16 years until the entire value is deducted.
This method of taking the deduction was signed into law in August of 2006. The old method allowed only a deduction up to 30% of AGI and five years to take the balance. If congress does not renew the law after 2007, it will revert to this method of calculation.
The easement does not transfer ownership. It only sets restrictions on what can be done to the land. Basically, the scenic, historical, recreational, or open space nature of the land can not be altered. The easement sets strict restrictions on what can and what can not be done to the land. It is possible, in many cases, to live on the land and even make some changes to a home located on the land as long as the restrictions do not prohibit it. Th...