There are many reasons for landowners to either donate land or a conservation easement, ranging from significant tax deductions to feeling secure in protecting the land and enhancing the community for future generations. Make sure to check out our conservation guide.
OLC's Land Conservation Guide
A conservation easement is a voluntary and legal agreement between a landowner and a land conservation organization that permanently restricts or directs the uses of the property. The landowner retains all rights to own, sell, and use the land according to the provisions of the easement. Many easements allow limited future development to occur by specifying the number and location of future structures and by denoting areas to be left undeveloped. Creating a conservation easement does not mean that the land is open to the public. The OLC will work with you to craft an easement that is best for you and help engage lawyers, appraisers or accountants to help you understand the benefits to your financial planning and create an easement that works for you.
Landowner Support and Land Planning
The Conservancy can help analyze the property's conservation resource values and real estate potential, and provide the advice of qualified professionals. Based upon this analysis, and the landowner's vision for the land and their financial goals, OLC can tailor a plan for property utilizing income and estate tax and potential property tax benefits that make conservation a practical and economic alternative to traditional development.
The following alternatives to a simple conservation easement are also recommended and the OLC can work with you to identify the best option:
Sale of Land
If you need to sell your land but don't want to see it destroyed by development, the OLC can help. Prior to the sale, we will work with you to place a conservation easement on the property before it goes on the market. We may also be able to help identify potential buyers for conserved lands.
Donation of Land for Conservation
Donating land for conservation is one of the finest legacies a person can leave to future generations. If you choose to donate your land, we will work with you to identify the best arrangement. The OLC might retain ownership of the property as a permanent preserve or transfer the property to a suitable owner, such as a government agency. The full market value of land donated to a non-profit land trust is tax deductible as a charitable gift.
In a bargain sale, you sell your land to OLC for less than its fair market value. This not only makes it more affordable for us, but offers several benefits to you: it provides cash, avoids some capital gains tax, and entitles you to a charitable income tax deduction based on the difference between the land's fair market value and its sale price.
Donation with a Lifetime Income
If you have land you would like to protect by donating it to us, but you need to receive income during your lifetime, consider a charitable gift annuity or a charitable remainder trust. Charitable gift annuities and charitable remainder trusts are most useful for highly appreciated land, the sale of which would incur high capital gains tax.
For more information please contact us at (845) 855-5993 or firstname.lastname@example.org or consult the resources below:
OLC's Land Conservation Guide
Michigan Model Conservation Easement