Did you know there are ways to support the Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT) that don't affect your current lifestyle or your family's security?
You can do this through the donation of financial resources or the donation of property or a conservation easement. These donations can be made over time or through a bequest - this is known as planned giving.
You may make a bequest to TILT by preparing a new will or adding a codicil to your present will. You may make your bequest unrestricted or direct it to a specific purpose. If you're donation is financial, you may indicate a specific amount, or a percentage of the balance remaining in your estate or trust. TILT will work with your financial advisor to develop an approach that works for you and your family.
"A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."
- Greek proverb
The donation of a conservation easement to a qualified charitable institution like TILT may be deductible on your income tax. The amount of the deduction is equal to the difference in the value of the property before and after the easement. You may also realize estate tax benefits from the donation of a conservation easement, if the value of the property changes as a result of the conservation easement. Check with your tax preparer for specific information.
New York State Conservation Easement Tax Credit
Landowners who donate a conservation easement to TILT can also take advantage of the New York’s Conservation Easement Tax Credit (CETC). This tax credit allows conservation easement landowners to get tax credit for 25% of the property taxes paid on conservation easement land located in New York State. This tax credit is available to residents and non-residents of New York State. For more information, click here. (This information is current, but is associated with the 2006 tax year. For the 2009 Form IT-242, click here.)
Additional information is available from the Land Trust Alliance, including these FAQs.
Conservation Easement and Property Taxes
A conservation easement will most likely not have any impact on your property taxes. Tax assessments are made by local assessors based on fair market value of the property. While undeveloped land does not require as many municipal services as developed land does, conserving land does not lower the assessment of the property.
At this time, placing an easement on property has not resulted in property tax savings in Jefferson or St. Lawrence counties, based on TILT’s experience.
There may be other income or estate tax benefits for donating your land, donating a conservation easement, or selling the property at a "bargain sale" (below market value). The amount and type of tax benefit depends on a variety of factors, including the legal tool you use to conserve you land, the value of the donation, your income level and the total value of your estate.