A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation and environmental value.
Chet Rogers, MAI and his team have developed a deep expertise with conservation easements, and have worked with property owners and land trusts throughout New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont:
- Over 75 conservation easement efforts successfully completed
- Saved over 12,000 acres from development
- Conserved 7 miles of lake and pond frontage
- Worked with a diverse range of ecosystems, from woodlands and open meadow to wetlands
- Worked with dozens of local and regional land trust organizations
THE SCOPE OF A CONSERVATION EASEMENT
The terms allowed by a conservation easement are as varied as the characteristics of the property and the wishes of the landowner.
For example, you may donate a conservation easement or donate the land “fee simple.” A fee simple conveyance means you give up all rights (and obligations) to the property.
However, you may wish that no further development be allowed on the land. For example, you may retain the right to farm and timber the restricted part. If you own a farm, you may donate your right to subdivide and build houses, while retaining your right to continue farming the land forever.
Granting a conservation easement assures that the property will be protected forever, regardless of who owns the land. The variations are endless.
An additional benefit of granting a conservation easement is that the donation of an easement may provide significant tax advantage to the donor. Chet Rogers, MAI and his team help you by providing an expert and complete appraisal designed to support your conservation goals, and a legacy you can be proud of.
An IRS appraisal is required when the property owner is donating a conservation easement and wishes to claim a tax deduction. To be effective, the appraisal must be completed to exacting specifications.
- The appraisal must be compatible with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), and Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions often referred to as the “Yellow Book.”
- IRS form 8283 must be signed by the appraiser and by the donee.
- The date of valuation in the appraisal can be no more than 60 days before you convey the conservation easement.
- The IRS imposes severe penalties for over-valued appraisals. Both the donor and the appraiser are subject to these penalties.
We understand the details and nuances, and will work with you to achieve your goals.
“QUALIFIED ORGANIZATIONS” – LOCAL LAND TRUSTS
According to the IRS, a conservation easement must be held by a “qualified organization.” A qualified organization is either a government entity or a 501(c)(3) organization that has:
- A commitment to protect the conservation purposes of a donation
- The resources to enforce the restrictions of the donation.
The Internal Revenue Service considers an organization operated primarily for conservation purposes to have the necessary commitment. Your best option is likely to be your local Land Trust. Chet Rogers, MAI and his team work closely with local land trusts. Our relationships and understanding will help you create exactly the type of conservation easement you have envisioned for your property and your family.