cover of book

A Tax Guide to Conservation Easements
by C. Timothy Lindstrom
Island Press, 2008
Cloth: 978-1-59726-387-0 | Paper: 978-1-59726-388-7 | eISBN: 978-1-61091-054-5

Voluntary land conservation, resulting from increasingly alluring tax benefits, has significantly changed the face of land use in the United States and promises to have an even more significant influence in the future. There are more than 1,500 land trusts in the U.S. today, involving millions of acres of land that have been permanently protected by conservation easements. Most of these land trusts depend heavily upon the significant income or estate tax benefits offered by the federal tax code as an incentive for voluntary land conservation. However, only a very small percentage of land trust personnel, landowners or their advisors, or even government officials, fully understand the complexity of the requirements for these tax benefits.
This is a comprehensive book on the tax benefits of the charitable contribution, or bargain sale, of a conservation easement. It provides a detailed explanation of the complex and extensive requirements of the federal tax code and related concepts, including the rules governing the operation of tax-exempt organizations such as land trusts. Clearly written, systematic in its coverage, it is intended to be of value for anyone who deals with land trust issues, including land trust staff and trustees, landowners, lawyers, accountants, government officials, and interested lay people. Structured for easy reference, A Tax Guide to Conservation Easements is designed to be used as a resource tool. Related topics are cross-referenced throughout. All principles in the book are illustrated with one or more useful examples.
The tax benefits of contributing a conservation easement are unquestionably the heart of voluntary land conservation today. Knowledge of the tax law relating to land trusts and conservation easements is vital to properly establishing and managing land trusts and to insuring the tax deductibility of conservation easements. The future of voluntary land conservation is dependent on a clear understanding of tax policy. Complete, meticulous, and up to date, A Tax Guide to Conservation Easements is an essential handbook.

C. Timothy Lindstrom is an attorney who specializes in the federal tax law of conservation easements and land trusts. He serves as legal counsel to easement donors and land trusts throughout the United States. He is a frequent lecturer and writer on the topic, and has played an instrumental role in the creation of additional statutory incentives for voluntary land conservation. Lindstrom and his family have contributed conservation easements on farms in Virginia and Michigan.

"Tim Lindstrom has provided a wonderful service for anyone involved in conservation that has ever been perplexed by the federal tax code—and isn't that all of us? He uses plain language to describe conservation tax law and make it easily understandable. This book is very practical and uses examples to make complex ideas easy to grasp and apply."
— Rand Wentworth, President, Land Trust Alliance

"A Tax Guide to Conservation Easements is an absolutely essential resource for anyone who deals in private land conservation transactions, including attorneys, accountants, appraisers, landowners, and land conservation professionals. The book provides a concise and accessible overview of pertinent conservation easement tax laws, regulations, and policies, and the text is replete is exceptionally helpful and pointed examples, drawn from real-world situations and from the author's years of first-hand experience in the field. A Tax Guide to Conservation Easements is among the most important publications about private land conservation available, and will remain so for many years to come."
— Andy Dana, Conservation Law Associates

    PART I. Basic Principles
    Chapter 1. An Overview of Voluntary Conservation Tools
    Chapter 2. Basic Tax Law Principles
    PART II. Regulatory Requirements for Deductible Conservation Easements
    Chapter 3. Deductions are Limited to "Qualified Conservation Contributions"
    PART III. Income Tax Benefits
    Chapter 4. Calculation of the Tax Benefit
    Chapter 5. Easement Valuation
    Chapter 6. Substantiation Requirements and Penalties
    PART IV. Estate and Gift Tax Benefits
    Chapter 7. Basic Estate Tax Concepts
    Chapter 8. Conservation Easements and Estate and Gift Taxes
    Chapter 9. Conservation Easements and Other Estate Planning Techniques
    Chapter 10. Other Forms of Charitable Giving and Estate Taxes
    Appendix A: Internal Revenue Code Provisions Governing Conservation Easements
    Appendix B: Income Tax Regulations for Conservation Easements

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