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Reap tax benefits for preserving land and being eco-friendly

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in Small Business Tax Deduction Strategies

Suppose you own real estate property in a pastoral setting that you want to preserve for future generations.

Strategy: Donate a “conservation easement” to charity. The easement generally allows others to enjoy or study the land or its views and wildlife (see box below).

As long as certain tax-law requirements are met, you can deduct the value of the benefit donated to a qualified charitable organization.

What’s more, you still own the land—subject to the restrictions imposed by the conservation easement. If you later sell the property, the easement remains in place. So the new owners can’t build a state-of-the-art golf course or new condo development on the site. The land must be preserved in its existing state.

Q. Didn’t this tax break expire years ago?

A. Technically, it did go off the books after 2009. But the 2010 Tax Relief Act revived the favorable tax-law provision retroactive to Jan. 1, 2010, and extended it through ...(register to read more)

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