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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.