IRS Tax Proposal Would Hurt Land Conservation


The IRS has recently proposed new regulations that would significantly reduce the federal tax deductions available for those who donate to charitable organizations in 17 states, including Virginia. This includes the donation of conservation easements and land.

The reductions would eliminate an important incentive for donors of conservation easements and slow the rate of land conservation.

The proposed changes are an attempt to stop a workaround implemented by some states to avoid the cap on the federal income tax deduction for payment of state and local taxes (also known as the SALT cap) written in the new tax code last year.  While the IRS needs to fix this issue, the new proposal snares conservation tax credits in the correction.

Private landowners have donated voluntary conservation easements that have protected millions of acres of farms, forests, wildlife habitat, recreation areas and scenic vistas.  We urge the IRS to find a solution that specifically addresses the problem without hurting longstanding state programs for conservation.

The Land Trust Alliance (LTA) submitted comments on behalf of the conservation community.  The New River Land Trust is a member of and accredited by the LTA.

A public comment period is open until October 11, 2018.  You can comment on this proposal online at