Faso Calls on IRS to Preserve New York Conservation Easement Incentive

Joins New York Conservation Groups in Effort to Oppose IRS Proposal

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Washington, October 15, 2018 | comments

Washington D.C. – Congressman John Faso (R-Kinderhook) joined local conservation groups, including the Mohonk Preserve, in submitting comments to the IRS objecting to a proposed regulation that would discourage conservation easement donations from private landowners.  In New York State, charitably-motivated private landowners, working with some 87 qualified nonprofit land trusts across the state, have permanently protected over 700,000 acres of land for public benefit using conservation easements.

“Land conservation in New York is not only vital for preserving the natural beauty of our state, but is also important to our local economy as it supports industries such as farming, forestry and tourism,” said Faso.  “The IRS proposal would upend a long-established status quo on the tax deductibility of the donations of conservation easements in New York and would have a negative impact on those looking to donate their lands for the public good.”

“We are pleased that Congressman Faso, in supporting a variety of measures to reinforce the existing federal and state tax incentives for private land conservation, recognizes the bipartisan value of these incentives. When used properly by charitably motivated land donors working with qualified, Accredited land trusts, such federal and state incentives achieve the intended public benefits of saving precious lands for our communities,” said Mohonk Preserve President Glenn Hoagland.

Background:

The IRS proposed a new regulation – 83 FR 43563 “Contributions in Exchange for State and Local Taxes” – that, as written, would require landowners who donate conservation easements identified for public benefit and receive state tax credits, to reduce their federal income tax deduction by the value of the state tax credits.  Since 2006, the New York State Conservation Easement Tax Credit provides an incentive for taxpayers to preserve and protect natural resources in their communities that have a public benefit by providing a credit equal to 25% of the local property tax on the conserved property up to $5,000 a year. 

Faso has been an leading advocate in Congress working to promote land conservation.  He is a cosponsor of H.R. 4459, the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act, which attempts to ensure conservation easement programs and charitable deductions are not abused by individuals and groups for tax shelters and short term profits.  He is also a strong supporter of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which has provided New York over $300 million for multiple projects including $2 million this year for the acquisition of the Boniello parcel of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in Pawling.

The full text of Faso’s letter can be found here.

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