Selling or Donating Your Land for Conservation
The Financial Benefits of Donating Land
Donating land to a qualified conservation organization is a powerful way to protect a place you love. It is also a major financial decision that may offer significant tax benefits.
Charitable donations of conservation land—either at full value or through a “bargain sale”—currently enjoy federal income tax benefits that can be spread over a number of years to help landowners realize the full value of their donation.
Massachusetts landowners have an additional option to consider with the Conservation Land Tax Credit Program. Land protected in perpetuity can qualify for a refundable state income tax credit of half the appraised value, up to $50,000. This state tax credit is in addition to any federal tax deductions the donation may qualify for. It applies to both land and conservation restriction donations, as well as donations of a life estate, or a bargain sale of land.
This tax credit provides an important incentive for landowners who are willing to protect their land. Landowners who have taken advantage of the tax credit say it was very helpful in covering some of the costs of conserving their land, making it more feasible than in the past. The CLTC program operates on a first-come, first-served basis, and annual funding for the program is capped at $2 million. For more information on the tax credit, download this summary sheet or visit the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.