Donating Land

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Donating Land

Donating land for conservation purposes is truly one of the best legacies people can leave to their community and to future generations. People can donate land, remainder interests in land, or conservation easements. Donating land to ASA can also provide landowners with a variety of potential tax benefits.

Outright Land Donations

One of the greatest gifts to ASA is what is referred to as a tradeland. These are lands that people donate outright or bequeath to ASA. ASA becomes the owner of the property at the time of conveyance or upon death if conveyed in a will.

ASA evaluates each property to see if it meets the criteria for a conservation easement or whether it might be used for another purpose by the organization (such as a demonstration farm or forest). If the property meets ASA’s conservation criteria, then the property will be sold subject to a conservation easement. The funds generated from the sale are then applied toward other ASA conservation projects. If the property does not meet the criteria for a conservation easement, such as residence or a small vacant parcel, then it will be sold unrestricted. Again the proceeds are used by ASA for other land protection efforts.

Donating land is a win-win for all involved. The donor receives a tax deduction for his or her charitable gift (or if done via will, the estate receives a lower estate value), the purchaser of the land buys the property at a lower value if the land has been restricted by a conservation easement, and ASA receives proceeds to fund other land protection efforts in the region.

Donating a Remainder Interest in Land

Rather than donating land outright, some people prefer to donate their land to ASA and retain life-use of the property. Donating a remainder interest and retaining a reserved life estate allows the landowner to continue living on the land during his/her lifetime. When the landowner dies, ASA gains full title to the property. In most cases, ASA will sell the land after protecting it with a permanent conservation easement.

A remainder interest gift usually entitles you to an income tax deduction for the “present value” of ASA’s remainder interest. Also, the land is not subject to estate taxation. You continue to enjoy the property during your lifetime, and you have the satisfaction of knowing your land will pass to good hands in the future. To increase the income tax benefit, you could combine a donation of a conservation easement with a gift of remainder interest to ASA.

Donating Land or Conservation Easement in Your Will

You can donate land or a conservation easement to ASA in your will. We encourage a person making such a bequest to discuss his/her conservation goals with the Agricultural Stewardship Association in advance to be sure that these goals can be met. Important technical details in drafting conservation easements must be included in order to fulfill the IRS deductibility requirements, and donors should be aware of the organization’s stewardship fund policy for the management and enforcement of the easement. Individuals interested should work with their tax advisors or estate planners to explore this option in more detail.

 

 


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