New Tools for Land Trusts
Supporting the Estabrook Woods
CCF Annual Meeting at the Cranberry Bog
New Board memb: Bob Morgan
Vivian's Place
CCF Brings Audubon Naturalists to 3rd Grade

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Barney Arnold
Liz Carpenter
Wayne Davis
Marjie Findlay
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Peg Gladstone
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Steve Hinton
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Lynn Knight
Jay Luby
Greg Peterson
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Steve Spang
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December 2006


New Tools for Land Trusts

Increased Federal Tax Benefits for Conservation Easements
(known as Conservation Restrictions in Massachusetts)

After considering a proposal to eliminate conservation tax incentives altogether, this past August the U.S. Congress passed legislation that expands the federal tax benefit for protecting important conservation values. For qualified conservation contributions, under the new law, the value of a CR donation can be de-ducted up to 50% of an individualís Adjusted Gross Income for the year of the gift, with a 15-year carry forward of any unused deduc-tion amount. The 2006 Tax Act also provides additional incentives for a qualified farmer or rancher (including those of moderate income levels) to donate conservation ease- ments. Currently these tax advantages only apply to conservation donations made in 2006 and 2007, but it is hoped these benefits will be extended for donations made beyond January 1, 2008. It should be noted that with this added tax incentive there is also increased scrutiny and additional regulations regard-ing conservation donations values. Contact CRAC (Conservation Restriction Advisory Committee) or CCF for more information.

Enforcement of Conservation Restrictions

In July 2006 the Massachusetts Legislature passed a law which insures that in any future CR enforcement action, towns and conservation non-profits will not have to foot the bill for the attorney hired to bring the action (so long as the attorney wins). Greg Peterson of CCF spearheaded this effort and brought together representatives of The Trustees of Reservations, Sudbury Valley Trustees, Mass Audubon, the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissioners, the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition, the Real Estate Bar Association and the Smart Growth Alliance in a multi-year effort to work with the legislature to craft and enact this important legislation. This law helps resolve a major, long-standing concern regarding the long-term effectiveness of CRs, which require the possibility of enforcement in order to be a viable tool for land protection.