Conservation Easement Consulting

Commercial Realty Services of Alabama, LLC. provides full service consulting services on Conservation Easements in the entire United States, from beginning to the final conclusion of the process. We work in a team approach with our elite team of expert proffesionals including conservation attorneys, real estate attorneys, securities attorneys, tax attorneys, land trusts, biologists, appraisers who specialize in conservation easements, Certified Public Accountants, real estate professionals, securities broker dealers, other securities professionals, and other professionals to deliver the most effective approach to assisting with conservation easement planning and execution. Engage us as your one-stop shop to handle the conservation easement process from the beginning to the end.


What Is Conservation Easement?

A conservation easement is the voluntary process of placing restrictive covenants on certain (or all) portions of a person, (or qualified entity i.e. partnership, LLC, S or C Corp.) property, in perpetuity in the hands of a qualified 501C-3 land trust or other qualified government entity for the purpose of obtaining a charitable tax deduction. The United States Government passed legislation, codified at 26 CFR-1.170-14, allowing taxpayers to obtain federal tax deductions on the value of a qualified conservation contribution to a qualified organization. The tax deduction is for an individual only and must be passed through the legal entity to the personal tax payer. The conservation easement provides for the following: retirement of the property from specific uses, i.e. residential development, commercial development, or industrial development. The property does not change hands, the land owner does not relinquish ownership in the property, it merely reduces the tax basis on the land.
The property owner retains all of the rights remaining to him after the placement of the easement. A conservation easement states the things that the property owner can not do rather than the things he can do. He gives up the right to do certain things in exchange for the present value of the tax deduction.


What Type Of Land Qualifies?

In general, most any land that has a higher value other than what it is being presently used for qualifies. This would include land that is currently vacant and could be developed, a farm, timberland, or low density housing in a high density housing market. In order for land to be qualified for placement of an easement, it must have and established and definable conservation purpose. In order to be able to place an easement on a piece of property, the development potentional must meet certain requirements. First and foremost, it must be feasible to develop the land to the projected use. The land must be owned fee simple by the owner wishing to place the easement for a period of at least one year prior to the placement of the easement.


Who Can Use A Conservation Easement?

The key to determining who can use the benefits of the tax deduction once a conservation easement is put in place is the key to the whole process. Since the easement generates a non-cash charitable tax deduction, it is limited to taking a certain percentage of a taxpayer's AGI. The tax deduction can be used in the year that it is placed in service and has a carry forward a number of years based on the current tax code. The deduction may be used to decrease the taxpayer's adjusted gross income and the deduction does not contribute to or trigger the alternative minimum tax.




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