Yes. In order to complete a conservation easement, a few critical pieces of information must be completed, including the conservation easement appraisal, a baseline report of natural resources on the property, and a minerals assessment of the property. Most importantly, a stewardship fee is included in the cost of an easement, which makes the protection of your land in perpetuity possible.
Only a qualified real estate appraiser can determine the value of a conservation easement for tax purposes. The qualified appraiser considers the property’s “before conservation easement” value at fair market and under current zoning, as well as the property’s “after conservation easement” value with the restrictions of the easement in place. The difference between these two numbers is the value of the conservation easement.
Colorado Conservation Tax Credits are available to donors of “qualified” conservation easements. Colorado taxpayers who donate such qualified easements may claim a state tax credit, based on the fair market value of the conservation easement. The current tax credit value is equal to 90% of the fair market value of the conservation easement. remaining donation up to a total maximum credit of $1.5 million. Colorado allows these credits to be carried forward for 20 years, during which time they may be used to offset the donor’s state income tax liability, or transferred one time to other Colorado taxpayers.
Because LPOSC is a nonprofit, charitable organization, there are a variety of tax benefits to donating a conservation easement to the conservancy. Donations of land, conservation easements, or money may qualify you for income or gift savings. The two main federal benefits associated with a conservation easement are possible reductions in income tax and estate tax liability. An independent appraisal of the value of the conservation easement, completed by a qualified appraiser, determines the amount of possible tax benefits. The amount and type of actual benefit depends on different factors, including the value, your income level, and the total amount of your estate. You should consult an attorney and/or financial advisor to fully understand the tax implications of such a donation.
No. By signing the conservation easement, you are agreeing to be a good steward of your property. LPOSC is required by law to monitor your property once a year to ensure the mutually accepted terms of the easement are being complied with. We will contact you in advance of this site visit so that you know we will be visiting your property, and you are always welcome to join us during that visit.
No. Public access to your property is entirely up to you. If you wish for your land to be public, that may be stated in the terms of the conservation easement agreement, but the easement itself does not mean that your land becomes a public access area.
Yes! You remain the sole owner of the property with the right to sell it, and the easement will permanently be attached to the property, regardless of ownership. The new landowner will be subject to the same restrictions of the conservation easement that you were.
No. However, LPOSC will likely only accept easements that prohibit large-scale subdivision and development for mining, non-agricultural commercial, and industrial uses. They do not have to ban all future development. Conservation easements are intended to be flexible enough to permit limited residential development, as well as permit working family farm and ranch operations. The terms of an easement are decided by the landowner, but the land trust will only assume management if it meets requisite standards for conservation.
Yes! You remain the owner of your land. Your conservation easement is developed specifically for your needs and goals in owning, working and living on the property. You voluntarily work with the conservancy to choose limits to the development of your land. Your property does not become government property.
A conservation easement is a permanent agreement between the landowner and the conservancy, and remains attached to the land regardless of the owner. The easement is recorded at the County Clerk and Recorder’s office, and is federally recognized in order to qualify for tax benefits.