The Berlin Land Trust protects open space by seeking gifts of undeveloped land, such as fields, wetlands and woodlands.
Donors may give their land outright, or may give the development rights in the form of a conservation easement. The BLT may assist with normal expenses of land donation. Because the BLT has federal tax-exempt status, donors will benefit from tax deductions or reductions that are associated with a charitable gift.
Here are brief descriptions of land conservation options:
Conservation agreements/easement: A conservation agreement/easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust that permanently limits the use of the land to protect its value as open space. This conservation option allows the landowner to retain ownership of the property and continued use of the land. Conservation agreements remain in effect even if the land is sold or passed on to heirs.
Land donation: Donating land to preserve it as a legacy to future generations may be the best way to preserve open space. Land donation can provide substantial income tax deductions and estate tax benefits, while avoiding capital gains taxes that would have been realized if the land had been sold.
Bargain sale of land: In a bargain sale, the landowner sells land to a land trust for less than its fair market value. This makes it affordable to the land trust and offers several benefits to the seller, including the ability to take a charitable income tax deduction based on the difference between the land's fair market value and its sale price.
Other resources: If you have land you would like to see preserved and protected for years to come, please contact the land trust, read publications available through the Web or bookstores, or consult with your own legal and financial advisors. Any decision you make regarding the ownership and use of your land should be made with careful consideration and professional advice. Feel free to contact the Berlin Land Trust for more information.