What happened to North Carolina's Conservation Income Tax Credit? | Catawba Lands Conservancy
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What happened to North Carolina’s Conservation Income Tax Credit?

Have you ever wondered what motivates people to conserve their land? There are several reasons why someone would enter a conservation easement or even donate their land; however, North Carolina’s Conservation Income Tax Credit historically played a major role in getting landowners interested in and willing to conserve their land. Unfortunately, since its repeal in 2013, we have seen a consistent decline in land conservation numbers across the state.  

Land for Tomorrow recently submitted a bill to the House Agriculture Committee, including language to restore the tax credit. We hope to see bipartisan support for restoring this important tool for the conservation community. 

The Conservation Income Tax Credit was an incentive for landowners to conserve their property because it enabled them to receive a tax credit of up to 25% of the fair market value of their donated property. This credit was often the tool that made it more appealing to conserve than sell. Around 238,000 acres of land across North Carolina were conserved when this tax credit was in play according to Land for Tomorrow. Despite this significant amount of land conserved and 30 years of success, the tax credit was repealed. Since then, the amount of conserved land by NC’s land trusts has dropped sharply. This means a decline in farm, forest and waterway conservation at a time when open space is disappearing rapidly across the state.  

Since the repeal, land trusts have needed to work even harder to garner interest and follow through on land conservation projects. While there are other tax benefits that come with conserving land, the loss of the Conservation Income Tax Credit removed one of the major benefits of conservation for landowners.  

Despite this, land trusts in NC continue to make important progress, protecting the state’s unique and beautiful places year after year. It is time now to restore the Conservation Income Tax Credit and enable landowners and conservation organizations to work together to save land for future generations. 


Header photo by Nancy Pierce.