Although conservation easements can be purchased, most of these agreements in North Carolina and across the country are donated. Donating an easement may apply as a federal tax-deductible charitable contribution, if it meets tax code requirements. In North Carolina, the reduction in land value caused by a conservation easement may be taken as a tax credit. This reduction in value also is important in estate planning, since it allows more land to pass free of inheritance tax to successor generations. There also could be some local property tax benefits by having the value of the property reduced as a result of a conservation easement.
Easements provide permanent land protection.
Easements can protect your property forever. Whether you want to maintain a family homestead, to save a farm, to protect wildlife and natural resources such as streams, or to simply preserve the area’s rural setting, conservation easements can be tailored to meet your needs and desires. What’s more: these agreements are legally binding on future generations.
Easements remain in private ownership.
When you protect your land with a conservation easement, you maintain your rights to property ownership. You also may continue to use your land the way you always have as long as it meets the agreed-upon terms of the easement. Even if you sell your property, the easement remains dictating use of the land for future owners.
Easements are tailored to the circumstances.
Easements are designed individually to respect the uniqueness of each piece of property and to capture the needs and desires of each landowner. Landowners can even use easements as a way to specify future uses for their lands.
Easements can yield tax benefits.
Preserving your property with a conservation easement may qualify as a charitable donation and be deductible for federal, estate and gift tax purposes. Easements also may be eligible for state tax credits and lower property taxes, in some cases. Land owners are encouraged to consult their attorneys or tax advisors for details.