What You Need to Know about Land Conservation, Passive Income, and Conservation Easements
There is an increasing interest (and financial benefit) of focusing on the conservation and protection of private land purchased in the United States. There are many national organizations and societies that support the transition of privately owned land to protected land while providing guidance on the financial benefits of this adjustment.
By agreeing to conservation easements, land owners are able to not only enjoy the benefits of using their land but simultaneously protect it for future generations (while receiving tax benefits)!
Why is land conservation valuable for landowners? What are land conservation easements and how do they work?
What are the Benefits of Land Conservation?
There are many economic, social, and environmental benefits to land conservation, including financial returns and tax deductions, as well as protection of biodiversity, sustainable tourism, and property supervision. Farms and forests can generate income and returns and cut costs if they play their cards right.
Due to the negative impact overconsumption and development can have on farms or forests, the land is damaged, and more often than not, without sustainable solutions to conserve the land. For example, healthy lands are fundamental for wildlife, clean air and water, migration, and many other purposes.
An easy solution for landowners to conserve their land for future generations while cutting down on high costs is through land conservation easements.
What are Land Conservation Easements?
There are many ways to build passive income through land ownership, but an increasingly popular method to save money, generate wealth and preserve land for future generations is through land conservation easements.
By agreeing to a conservation easement, a land owner will either voluntarily donate or sell some, or all, rights to their property related to achieving conservation purposes, such as preserving water quality, migration routes, sustainable agriculture or forestry, or wildlife habitats. Uniquely, this agreement allows the land to still be owned by the original owner, as long as the uses remain consistent with the agreed-upon conservation objectives. Depending on the value of the land, the benefits of such agreements can have different returns.
Many conservation easements are purchased with government, nonprofit or private funds, and then the landowners are directly paid for the acquisition of their land. To maximize benefits, it is important to highlight that the most valuable land has both a high possibility of restoration and crop failures or issues. When considering land conservation easements, it is worth looking into purchasing the cheapest land in the U.S. with the maximum possible paybacks.
Advantages of Land Conservation Easements:
As long as the future use of the land complies with the agreed terms of an easement, there are significant federal and state tax benefits for landowners with conservation easements.
Landowners can receive federal income tax deductions or state tax credits, and the benefits are larger for landowners who work on their land, such as farmers or ranchers. Donors can deduct a large portion of their income, but farmers or ranchers may be eligible for full federal deductions of their income.
The financial benefits may also include property tax incentives or estate tax reductions depending on the property and landowner.
(2) Private use
It is true that conservation easements prohibit specific uses of the land by owners, however, this does not mean that the land is available for public or easement holder’s use.
In fact, the easement can be tailored to include landowner needs or desires (if agreed upon) and prohibit certain actions by the easement holder or public prior to drawing up the written agreement. This allows for maximum flexibility for landowners and they can rest easy knowing they are able to customize the agreement.
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