In the latest issue of Forbes magazine, an article discusses the new Farm bill and reviews the extended and sweetened tax breaks for conservation easements. “Farmers and ranchers get an even more generous break: They can offset up to 100% of their adjusted gross income with conservation donations, potentially zeroing out their tax liability for the next 15 years.”
According to Stephen Small, a Boston tax lawyer, the new 15-year carry-over rule can be a “remarkable planning tool,” but warns against getting too greedy. “A good conservation easement brings with it some philanthropy; you really do give up value,” says Small. “If somebody says ‘I can put a deal together for you where you can donate an easement and come out ahead financially,’ beware.”
Photo: Steamboat Rock Ranch, a ranch for sale that is largely surrounded by protected lands in Larimer County, Colorado, is an excellent conservation opportunity.