Land Trust Coalition
The Conservancy has been effective in working with landowners in Morgan County to use conservation easements to protect critical natural, agricultural, and historic resources. Today 2,550+ acres have been protected through voluntary, donated conservation easements. We are well aware that the tax incentives related to donations of conservation easements are key to the landowners’ ability to give away the development value on their land.
The GA Conservation Tax Credit was created in 2006 to incentivize landowners to protect critical resources in Georgia through the donation of conservation easements or through the donation of land in fee. In 2012 HB 386 was passed by the GA Legislature, changing the GA Conservation Tax Credit Program in a way that reduces the viability of landowners to qualify for that tax credit. Most affected by the changes in HB 386 are farmers and owners of historic properties.
After HB 386 passed in 2012, the Conservancy led an informal coalition of land trusts in the state to assess the impact of HB 386 and to advocate for a robust state conservation tax credit program. Our process began with a survey of land trusts, CPAs, appraisers, lawyers, and other individuals and entities involved in conservation easements; continued with regular conference calls with land trusts; and culminated with two documents published for use in advocating for correction of the HB 386 changes to the state tax credit program.
The Conservancy intends to continue to lead this informal coalition through the next legislative session. This program will reach all the land trusts in the state and will affect future donors of conservation easements.