SB-206 passes for huge improvement to the Colorado transferable conservation easement tax credit PDF  | Print |  E-mail


On May 6, 2015, the Colorado State Legislature passed Senate Bill 206 -- a huge win for everyone who works with conservation easement tax credits!


Effective January 1, 2015, the Colorado individual conservation easement tax credit formula is 75% of the first $100,000 donated value of the conservation easement and 50% of any remaining donation up to a total credit of $1.5M. This is a significant increase from the previous formula of 50% of the donated value of the conservation easement up to a $375,000 credit.

All landowners utilizing the credit will get up to an additional $25,000 in tax credits to help offset the increased transaction costs. Senate Bill 206 allows a landowner with a larger or high-value parcel of land to earn up to $1.5M in Colorado tax credits in a single year – no more multi-year phased conservation easement processes and all of the related annual expenses. Buyers will be able to purchase the credits they need because more tax credits will be available each year.

We anticipate the pace of conservation to pick up with this improved incentive - many landowners who have been sitting on the sidelines will be enticed to jump in to participate in the conservation easement program.


Thank you!

Thanks to all of the supporters that land conservation has in Colorado, the bill made it to the finish line! The bill received bipartisan sponsorship from Sen. Ellen Roberts (R-Durango) and Sen. Mary Hodge (D-Brighton). House co-sponsors are Rep. Alec Garnett (D-Denver) and Rep. Jon Keyser (R-Evergreen).

We are also thankful to the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts’ policy team – lobbyist Benjamin Waters, contractor Brandon Rattiner, Executive Director Amanda Barker, policy chair Kevin Shea, and the CCLT public policy committee.

Governor Hickenlooper will sign the bill into law in the upcoming weeks.

Click here to read the actual bill – it’s only two pages long!


Benefits to Landowners

For nearly a $3M conservation easement donation, SB-206 allows a large landowner to earn $1.5M in Colorado tax credits. This will help large landowners to be able to know that their whole ranch is protected. This will also help large landowners to only pay their transaction costs one time to conserve nearly $3M worth of conservation land.

With transaction costs topping an average of $50,000 around the state, it is hard for a landowner who is making a $200,000 conservation easement donation to walk away with anything in their pocket as a thank you for permanently protecting their land for future generations. SB-206 allows small landowners to receive up to an additional $25,000 in tax credits, because the formula changed to 75% of the first $100,000 in donated value and 50% after that.


For more information, please contact CCLT at (303) 271-1577 or info@cclt.org.

CCLT and the Conservation Easement Tax Credit PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts and the Conservation Easement Tax Credit


No organization in Colorado has been as closely connected to the creation, support, and defense of the conservation easement tax credit as the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts. Below is a brief summary of the legislation that CCLT has written, advocated on behalf of, or helped shepherd through the legislative process. It is important to note that CCLT’s advocacy on behalf of the tax credit extends far beyond the legislature and includes relationships with the Department of Revenue, the Department of Regulatory Agencies, the Attorney General, and the Governor’s Office. Ensuring that these stakeholders are also supportive of the tax credit has always been at the forefront of our strategy.


  • H.B. 99-1155 created the conservation easement tax credit and established the limit at $100,000 per donation. CCLT’s advisors, board members, and staff worked with a bipartisan and broad coalition to pass this legislation. It has since been emulated by numerous states across the country as an incredibly efficient and effective way to conserve land.


  • H.B. 00-1348 allowed for the transfer of the credit. The conservation community quickly realized that the tax credit would not be as effective of a tool without this important change allowing easement donors to transfer their credits to other taxpayers.


  • H.B. 01-1090 increased the individual credit limit to $260,000. Effective January 1, 2003, this legislation was a response to concerns that the $100,000 amount was not leading to the large parcel-scale conservation intended by the community and state when creating the tax credit.


  • H.B. 05-1244 changed the filing deadline to the tax due date of the following year. Under H.B. 99-1155, the deadline had been December 31st.


  • H.B. 06-1354 saw a further increase in the individual tax credit limit to $375,000. Much like H.B. 01-1090, this legislation was an attempt to ensure that as much land as possible was being conserved. It also changed the formula for calculating the credit to a straight 50% of the donated value capped at $375,000.


  • H.B. 07-1361 was the first of two important reform bills and focused on increasing the reporting standards for easement holders and donors. This legislation created various forms that allowed the state to have more confidence in the information available about the tax credit.


  • H.B. 08-1353 was the second of the reform bills and easily the most important legislation since the creation of the tax credit in 1999. In short, 1353 was another bipartisan response to a need: however, unlike 1999 where the need was for a conservation incentive, this need was for an increase in the accountability and transparency of that incentive. This bill created a Conservation Easement Oversight Commission, a certification process for easement holders, and a system whereby all conservation easement appraisals are to be submitted to the Division of Real Estate. This bill has been an unqualified success in restoring confidence in the tax credit by state regulators, legislators, and the tax credit market.


  • H.B. 10-1197 was a response to an attempt to lower the tax credit limit back down to $100,000. In light of serious budget pressures, legislators sought to return to the 1999 limits – an option that CCLT found completely untenable. We worked diligently to ensure that the tax credit remained at $375,000 and, additionally, that nearly $80,000,000 over three years was guaranteed by the state for conservation easement tax credits.


  • H.B. 11-1300 was the result of various state interests working together to attempt to streamline the process by which disallowed tax credits could be resolved administratively or judicially. CCLT was a part of the drafting process to ensure that the interests of future easement donors, our member organizations, and the state of conservation in Colorado in general were protected.

National Policy PDF  | Print |  E-mail
National Policy

Washington may seem far away, but the impacts of decisions inside the beltway can have very immediate impacts on land conservation in Colorado. The Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts works to ensure that federal decisions promote high-quality land preservation in our state.

Colorado Policy PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Colorado Policy

With a stroke of the pen or a bang of the gavel, policy changes in Denver can impact land preservation efforts across the state. When the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts serves as the voice of the land conservation community as those policies are shaped we all benefit.