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E-M:/ Conservation easements under attack

Conservation easements are threatened by federal tax code recommendations.  Please take action to protect the work of the Washtenaw Land Trust and others that utilize this vital land protection tool.


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On January 27, 2005 the Joint Committee on Taxation of the Congress recommended a drastic cut on tax benefits for donations of land, conservation easements, and bargain sales.  While some reforms are reasonable, what has been proposed by the Joint Committee on Taxation are not reasonable and if adopted as written, would injure national land conservation policy.


National Conservation Policy—Impact  

Several of these proposals would virtually eliminate incentives for landowners who voluntarily conserve their lands.  These proposals would stop the work of land trusts and severely hamper state and local conservation efforts.


Proposal and Consequences

The Joint Tax Committee proposed:

        Not allowing any deductions for donating a conservation easement on the property on which a landowner lives, which would eliminate most conservation easements.

        Slashing the deductions allowed for donating a conservation easement, from 100% of what the easement is worth, to no more than 33% of its value

        Limiting deductions for donating land to the landowner’s basis in the land, which punishes long-term landowners, and gravely hurts conservation.


What it means

The loss of farmland and open space is accelerating. Local projects and programs would be directly affected by this tax revision.  


Action Needed

You can help protect private conservation.  Letters to our U.S.  senators and representatives asking them to help fight these proposals are essential.  For draft letters, contact details and more information, please visit the Land Trust Alliance at www.lta.org.


Washtenaw Land Trust

1100 N. Main Street #203

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

734-302-LAND (5263)

734-302-1804 (fax)








Patrick Diehl

Associate Director

Michigan Environmental Council

119 Pere Marquette Drive, Ste. 2A

Lansing, Michigan 48912


517-487-9541 fax



Celebrating MEC's 25th Anniversary in 2005