The East End of Long Island is a beautiful area of open vistas overlooking magnificent water, lush forests and gently rolling farmland, all alternating with charming hamlets and villages. Most people who live here, and many who hope to live here want to protect the beauty of this outstanding area. One way of accomplishing is by supporting wise development through the use of conservation techniques that can protect the land and preserve property owner's equity.

Land can be protected in many ways. The Peconic Land Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of land on the East End of Long Island, uses a number of tools to help both purchasers and current landowners protect their land. Some of these tools include:

1.    Designing careful, well-thought out "limited development plans" to reduce density on property without destroying the landowner's economic investment in the property.

2.    Assisting farmers and other landowners with the sale of their development rights to local and county governments. This process enables the land to continue in agriculture, while the landowners can reduce their estate and property taxes and obtain funds for a part of the value of their land.

3.    Accepting gifts of land and/or conservation easements to protect significant open space, scenic vistas, valuable wetlands and/or woodlands.

4.    Purchasing land at a bargain sale (below market value) price. The difference between the bargain sale price and fair market value is a charitable contribution. Thus it is part gift and part sale. The seller realizes a combination of a tax savings and a return on a portion of the property. The Trust is able to protect the land and then convey the protected land to a purchaser at a lower price because of the reduced value of the land.

Tax Benefits
OF A CONSERVATION EASEMENT

One way to assure your privacy and seclusion and possibly receive some tax benefits is through the gift of a Conservation Easement, a voluntary agreement between a landowner and the receiver of the easement (a qualified nonprofit organization such as Peconic Land Trust, or a governmental agency) to restrict the use of the land in perpetuity. Easements can be tailored to your specific needs. They can restrict the amount of development on a land, or protect significant open space and/or historical features of the property. When you protect your property with an easement, you continue to own it privately. When you sell, however, the property remains protected by the restrictions of the easement.

POSSIBLE INCOME TAX BENEFITS

A conservation easement is a tax-deductible charitable gift, provided that the easement is perpetual and is donated "exclusively for conservation purposes" to a qualified organization or governmental agency. The value of your gift is equal to the difference between the fair market value of the land before you create the easement, and the value after the easement is in place. These values are determined by a qualified appraiser.

IRS allows an itemized deduction of a portion of an individual's adjusted gross income for such a gift. There are limitations on the amount that can be claimed in any given year, however, any portion of the gift not used in the first year may be carried over and deducted during the next five years.

REDUCTION IN ESTATE TAXES AND/OR PROPERTY TAXES

A conservation easement may also reduce the value of land for estate tax purposes, and prevent the necessity of selling large properties to pay federal and state estate taxes.

In addition, while easements keep the land under private ownership and thus on the tax rolls, the value of the land for tax purposes may be lessened due to the imposed restrictions. As a result, property taxes may be reduced

For more information
Call Syma Joffe Gerard at 516-325-8201
or e-mail us at syma@symaco.com





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