Landowners in Georgia may have a chance to cut their income taxes in half.
Congress recently extended, through the end of this year, a law that allows landowners who protect their land from development and protect the conservation values on the property to reduce their federal income-tax liability by as much as 50 percent. This annual savings can be continued for up to 16 years, depending on the value of the land.
The way to qualify for this is through a land conservation easement. A conservation easement is a legal agreement that the land will not be developed into a subdivision.
The owner still has all the other rights and privileges associated with ownership.
The Internal Revenue Service allows a landowner to take the value of these subdivision rights — which can be the majority of the land’s value — and treat them as a deduction to reduce one’s income. It is similar to the deduction one is allowed to take for donations to a church or other charity. The state of Georgia also recognizes the value of protecting natural resources and allows a tax credit for the landowner.
The Georgia Conservancy, one of the state’s oldest nonprofit environmental organizations, has a free service for Georgia landowners to help them evaluate whether this program is suitable for them. In two years, landowners working with the Georgia Conservancy have protected 15,000 acres of land and received millions of dollars in conservation cash payments and income-tax savings.
Landowners interested in a free evaluation of their land’s conservation potential can call 404-876-2900, ext. 113, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.