Conservation easements provide tax benefits

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To the editor:
As part of a tax bill negotiated in January of this year, Congress extended until Dec. 31 the enhanced tax benefit that helps all of us who are interested in protecting working family farms, clean water, and natural areas.
The law enhances the federal tax benefits for landowners who donate voluntary conservation agreements to organizations like Shelby Area Rural  
Conservation, Inc. These agreements also provide a win-win solution for protecting natural resources important to the community while keeping land in productive private ownership.
This incentive enables Shelby Area Rural Conservation to assist more landowners in protecting resources and rural livelihoods for our children’s benefit and for our community’s future. Since it was first enacted in 2006, 394 acres of agricultural land have been conserved by donation in Shelby County.
Before 2006, landowners were only able to deduct a small portion of the value of their donation.
Now, conservation donors can deduct up to 50 percent of their adjusted gross income in any year (up from 30 percent), and, if over 50 percent of their income is from farming, ranching or forestry, 100 percent of their income is deductible. Additionally, donors can carry-forward the remaining value of their donation for up to 16 years (previously six).
If you are a landowner in Anderson County and want to learn more about enhanced tax benefits of donating a conservation easement, contact: Shelby Area Rural Conservation, P.O. Box 985, Shelbyville, KY 40066-0985, email address: sarc@shelbybb.net, or phone 502-647-2726. We look forward to hearing from you.

Jim Ellis, president
Shelby Area Rural
Conservation, Inc.