Earning a Tax Credit

What is the Georgia Land Conservation Tax Credit?

The Georgia conservation tax credit is a tax credit Georgia taxpayers may receive in exchange for the donation of a conservation easement or land. The credit originally came into effect in 2006, but it was personal to the easement donor, and was not transferable.  Begining on January 1, 2012 the credit became transferable, and this change applies not only to new credits created after the start of 2012, but also to pre-existing credits created at any time since the inception of the program in 2006.

How can I earn and use Tax Credits?

To earn tax credits, a landowner donates a conservation easement, or land itself,  to a qualified land trust or governmental entity. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources reviews the donation to determine whether it meets certain conservation criteria, and is therefore eligible to earn credits. This review can occur either before the easement donation is made, or after.  If the donation is certified, credits are earned. Once the credits have been earned, the landowner may:

  • Apply the credits to reduce their own state income tax liability (and carry forward unused credits for up to 10 years).
  • Receive immediate compensation for the credits by transferring all or a portion of them to a third party.

To maximize your chances of earning viable credits, it is of utmost importance to work with a professional land trust; experienced legal, tax, and appraisal advisors; and knowledgeable credit transfer facilitators.

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