Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Conservation Easements Circa 2013

This weekend's Wall Street Journal included an article about the inclusion, in the fiscal cliff compromise, of the generous federal tax benefit for conservation easement donors. Rachel Silverman's piece is here
The recently-passed legislation provides for a federal deduction equal to the easement's value up to 50% of adjusted gross income, with a carry forward of 15 years.


The Journal article includes a cautionary note about the IRS's increased scrutiny of easements:
Beware that the Internal Revenue Service has been increasing the number of conservation-easement tax returns it audits, concerned with abuses in which donors have taken inflated deductions or have placed restrictions on land with little conservation value.

At Richmond & Fishburne we have started work on 2013 easement donations (wow - there is some beautiful property in Albemarle County, and there's nothing better than getting away from this computer for a site visit to meet with a prospective easement donor).

Because of the lengthy review, revision and approval processes undertaken by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, the Department of Forestry, and other donee organizations, it is important that easement donors start the process early in the calendar year for which they want to make their donation.