Do you have land you would like to see protected into perpetuity?
Do you have land you would like conserved as natural area?
Do you have land dedicated to public access and native ecosystems?
scroll down the page to read about ideas and options
Discuss with NICHES Executive Directer, Gus Nyberg, the viability of donating tract of land to NICHES Land Trust for long-term preservation, conservation and public access.
NICHES Land Trust is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit, our Federal Tax ID: 35-1964901 NICHES is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation; your donation is tax deductible to the full extent permitted by law.
Land Owner Options
Donating woodlands, wetlands, and other wildlife habitat is one of the finest legacies a person can leave for future generations. Other more immediate benefits include income tax deductions, avoidance of capital gains taxes, and estate tax benefits.
This is part way between donating your land outright and selling it. Essentially, a landowner sells the property to a land trust but at a significant discount. The difference between the selling price and the appraised value counts as a tax-deductible donation.
Landowners who want to remain on their land can do so by donating a remainder interest to NICHES Land Trust while reserving the right for themselves, or someone else they may designate, to live on or use the property. This is called a Reserved Life Estate. When the landowner or the designated individual dies or releases their life interest, NICHES assumes full title and control over the property. Part of the value of the land is considered a tax-deductible donation; just what part is determined by the age of the landowner or whomever holds the remainder interest.
Donating a property through your will is another way to control your land during your lifetime but protect it after your death. Of course this method lacks the tax benefits of a life estate. Please contact NICHES if this is an option you are considering. That allows you to specify your desires for the property and allows for NICHES to visit the area and agree to those desires.
A conservation easement is a legal agreement landowners use to permanently limit certain land uses on their property. Essentially, the landowner is donating some of the rights that come with the property, such as the right to subdivide the property, to construct buildings, harvest timber, drill for oil and gas, and so forth. These rights can be donated to a land trust for the purpose of conserving resources such as wildlife habitat, natural areas, agricultural land, or open space. The landowner continues to own the property and can sell it or will it to whomever he or she wishes. The easement, however, goes with the land and applies to subsequent landowners.
Each easement is unique since it reflects each landowner’s unique vision for his or her land. The landowner and NICHES must both agree to the terms. The donation can qualify as a tax-deductible contribution for federal income tax purposes, assuming the easement is given to a qualified organization such as NICHES and permanently protects “public values” such as open space or wildlife habitat. Basically, the appraised value of the land with the easement is deducted from the appraised value of the land without the easement. The difference is the tax-deductible amount.
A conservation easement can be an important part of an estate plan. For people whose land value has soared due to development pressures, a conservation easement may mean the difference between passing on that land to their heirs or their heirs having to sell the land to pay the estate taxes. By removing or limiting the land’s development potential, the easement lowers its market value, which in turn lowers the estate tax.
An easement is a permanent legal responsibility for a land trust with potential future litigation costs. Like many other not-for-profits, NICHES asks landowners seeking to donate conservation easements to include a cash donation towards a legal defense fund.
Here is a great overall article written by Purdue University Extension that outlines information and benefits of Conservation Easements:
Not all properties are suitable for protection because of their size or location. A landowner can still donate them with the understanding that the property will be sold with the resulting funds going to purchase more ecologically significant areas.