What are the legal requirements for conservation easements  

Federal law governs only the tax treatment of a conservation easement as a charitable gift. While you should consult your attorney or a person knowledgeable of federal requirements, in general the following rules apply in order to receive a tax benefit:

  1. The conservation easement must be granted in perpetuity (mortgage and/or contract holders must agree to subordinate to the easement).
  2. The easement must provide at least one of the following three conservation purposes:
  3. Protection of relatively natural habitat for fish, wildlife, plants or similar ecosystems,
  4. Preservation of open space (including farmland, ranchland or forest land) for (1) scenic enjoyment of the general public and/or (2) significant public benefit pursuant to a clearly delineated government policy,
  5. Preservation of land areas for the education of or outdoor recreation by the general public.
  6. The easement must be granted to a qualified organization.
  7. The easement must prohibit all surface mining. If the easement donor does not own all of the mineral rights, the possibility of surface mining must be determined "so remote as to be negligible."
  8. Resource data documenting the conservation values of the property must be collected prior to donation of the easement.

If you are interested in learning more about conservation easements or would like to know if your property would be eligible, contact UTCT at (972)219-1228 or email jpierce@utct.org. UTCT Staff will be happy to discuss with you your situation, concerns and wishes in a confidential manner.