Step 1: Purposes of a Conservation Easement

One step of Six Steps to a Happy Conservation Easement

To qualify for a tax deduction, a conservation easement must be for one or more conservation purposes.

Internal Revenue Code Section 170(h) defines when the conveyance of less than all of a person’s interest in real property (e.g., a conservation easement) may still qualify as a charitable donation for tax purposes. A conservation easement is a perpetual restriction, which is granted in perpetuity on the use that may be made of real property exclusively for conservation purposes.

Section 170(h) defines “conservation purposes” as:

  • the preservation of land areas for outdoor recreation by, or the education of, the general public
  • the protection of a relatively natural habitat of fish, wildlife, or plants, or similar ecosystem
  • the preservation of open space (including farmland and forest land) where such preservation is for the scenic enjoyment of the general public, or pursuant to a clearly delineated Federal, State, or local governmental conservation policy, and will yield a significant public benefit
  • the preservation of an historically important land area or a certified historic structure.

Perpetuity is a very long time. You’re doing this for your grandchildren and for their grandchildren. You and they will never get back the rights that you donate.