Other Conservation Tools

From the Land Trust Alliance

While conservation easements and fee-simple purchase acquisition are the most traditional tools for protecting private lands, a few other options exist.

Resale of Land

If you need to sell your land but don’t want to see it destroyed by development, a land trust can help. Prior to the sale, you can work with your local land trust to place a conservation easement on the land before it goes on the market. Some land trusts can also help identify potential buyers for conserved lands.

Donation of Land for Conservation

Donating land for conservation is one of the finest legacies an individual can leave to future generations. When a landowners choose to donate their lands, their land trusts can help identify the best arrangement. The land trust might retain ownership of the property as a permanent preserve or transfer the property to a suitable owner, such as a government agency. In some cases, the land is sold to a private owner, subject to a conservation easement held by the land trust. (Proceeds from such a sale could fund the land trust’s long-term management of the conservation easement and/or help it to protect even more land.) The full market value of land donated to a nonprofit land trust is tax deductible as a charitable gift.

Bargain Sale

In a bargain sale, landowners sell their land to a land trust for less than its fair market value. This not only makes it more affordable for the land trust, but offers several benefits to landowners -- it provides cash, eliminates some capital gains tax, and entitles landowners 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 a land trust, but you need to receive income during your lifetime, consider a charitable gift annuity or a charitable remainder unitrust. Charitable gift annuities and charitable remainder unitrusts are most useful for highly appreciated land, the sale of which would incur high capital gains tax.

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