Donating a Property to Generate Conservation Funds
You can help generate needed funds for conservation work by donating a property that a land trust or other qualified charitable organization can resell. If the property has conservation merit, the organization can place an easement on it before reselling it. This approach protects the land, keeping it in private ownership and on tax rolls, while allowing the land trust to use proceeds from the sale for further conservation. Before the deed is transferred, clearly establish whether the organization intends to protect and resell the land or retain it. Tax regulations require that you deed the land unrestricted, however, if you are to enjoy income tax benefits for the land’s full unrestricted value.
Land must have significant scenic, ecological or cultural value to be appropriate for conservation. Properties that do not meet this criteria—for example, a commercial building, a residence without significant open space, or a building lot—still can be donated to a land trust that would then sell or trade the property to help fund its conservation work. The donor may take a charitable deduction for the property’s full fair market value (as determined by a qualified appraisal).