Owning Land

Conservation easement and property taxes

Conservation easements (CEs) provide a break for their donors on local, state, federal and estate taxes.

What has been the experience of LANDTHINK visitors with reductions (or lack thereof) in local property tax once a CE has been put in place?

CEs donate one or more rights in a property to a land trust or similar organization. This is done to conserve some environmental value–keeping land open or in agriculture, limiting or prohibiting development, protect habitat, etc. The donated right has a monetary value.

Are land owners with CEs getting their properties reduced in subsequent tax assessments to reflect the donation? Are there standard formulas? Are donors being treated fairly?

If your land is enrolled in agricultural land use or in a managed timberland program (both of which reduce property taxes), are CE lands getting an additional local property tax break?

What are your thoughts?

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About the author

Curtis Seltzer

Curtis Seltzer is a land consultant, columnist and author of How To Be a DIRT-SMART Buyer of Country Property and Land Matters: The “Country Real Estate” Columns, 2007-2009.

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