Patrick-Murray Administration Announces New Land Conservation Incentive
BOSTON - September 19, 2011 - The Massachusetts Conservation Land Tax Credit Program, a new initiative designed to boost land conservation by offering state income tax credits in exchange for conservation land donations, is now taking applications from eligible land donors today, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. announced today.
"With the rollout of this tax credit program today, we have added another tool to further the Patrick-Murray Administration's ambitious land conservation agenda," said Secretary Sullivan. "With more than 85,000 acres protected since the Governor took office, we have made outstanding progress and we anticipate continuing that trend through this new program that rewards the generosity of private landowners across the state."
Under EEA regulations that took effect today, donated land must be appraised at $100,000 or more and be protected in perpetuity by state, municipal or private conservation entities in order to qualify for a state income tax credit of one half of the appraised value, up to a maximum of $50,000. By law, total funding for the program is capped at $2 million.
Starting today, EEA will accept applications for a two-week period, ending October 3. EEA will hold a random public drawing on October 4 to establish the order in which those applications will be reviewed. Should the pool of approved applications generate more than $2 million in tax credits, applicants will be assessed in a first come, first serve basis. For the first year of the program only, land that has already been donated will be valid for application to the program. In subsequent years, the program will operate on a strictly first come-first served basis, without a random drawing.
EEA will evaluate applications to insure that the donations conform to regional and state long-term land conservation land goals, as well as the program's regulations. Once approved by EEA, applicants must follow the Massachusetts Department of Revenue's process to receive the tax credit. Credits will be applied to returns starting in the 2011 tax year.
With the launch of this program, Massachusetts joins more than a dozen states that offer state tax credits for the donation of approved conservation land. The Conservation Land Tax Credit Program is authorized by Chapter 509 of the Acts of 2009 as amended by Chapter 409 of the Acts of 2010.