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Tax Incentives


Congress Renews a Tax Incentive to Help You Conserve Your Land

Congress recently renewed, through Dec. 31, 2011, an incentive that enhances the tax benefits of protecting your land by donating a voluntary conservation agreement. If you own land with important natural or historic resources, donating a voluntary conservation agreement can be one of the smartest ways to conserve the land you love, while maintaining your private property rights and possibly realizing significant federal tax benefits.

These new incentives make it easier for average Americans, including working family farmers and ranchers, to donate the development rights on their land. The incentive:

  • Raises the maximum deduction you can take for donating a voluntary conservation agreement from 30% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) to 50%;
  • Allows you to deduct up to 100% of your AGI if you qualify as a farmer or rancher; and
  • Increases the number of years over which you can take deductions from 6 years to 16 years. *These changes allow many modest income landowners to deduct much more than they could under the old rules, bringing increased fairness to the tax code.

Unless Congress acts, these enhanced tax benefits will expire December 31, 2011. We hope you’ll join us in asking Congress to make the incentive permanent, but as things stand, you should aim to complete your donation by the end of next year.


South Carolina offers tax credits to those who make a donation of land for conservation. In general, a tax credit is more valuable than a similar tax deduction. A tax credit reduces the tax you pay, dollar-for-dollar.

South Carolina’s tax incentive comes in the form of a tax credit equal to 25% of the fair market value of the conservation gift. The tax credit is limited to a maximum of $52,000 per year, and to $250 per acre. The South Carolina tax incentive allows the landowner to carry the unused portion of the credit forward indefinitely until the full credit is claimed. The South Carolina conservation easement tax credit applies in addition to federal tax benefits.

For more information, please read the South Carolina Department of Revenue’s third edition of the Local, State, and Federal Tax Incentives for Conservation Easements.

Also, South Carolina is one of only two states where tax credits can be bought or sold on the open market. Please visit http://www.conservesc.com/ for more information on buying and selling tax credits.

Tax Incentives

Private land conservation can create significant tax benefits for landowners. To learn more click here.

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