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Giving Land to the Vermont Land Trust

Giving your land to the Vermont Land Trust is among the most generous legacies you can leave to future generations. It can provide you with many benefits as well. Donating land can:

  • Ensure permanent protection of your property through the use of a conservation easement;
  • Provide you with a charitable income tax deduction for the full fair market value of the land (read detailed information on tax incentives for donating land);
  • Eliminate capital gains tax on appreciated value, otherwise payable if you sold the land;
  • Remove the property from your taxable estate;
  • Release you from the expense and responsibility of managing the property; and
  • Provide long-term financial support for VLT.

What kind of land can be donated to the Vermont Land Trust?

Land that has conservation value: If the property is 50 acres or more, and we assess that the land has conservation value (e.g. a farm, forestland, or natural area), we will typically place a conservation easement on the property before reselling it. The proceeds would be used to build our stewardship endowment, conserve additional land, or support a program chosen by the donor. If the land has special qualities, we may conserve a parcel smaller than 50 acres, or retain ownership of a property. If a gifted property is well suited as a recreation area or community forest, we may convey the property to the State or a town to be managed for public use. If we receive a gift of farmland, we may choose to place a conservation easement on the land and enroll the farm in our Farmland Access Program. The program connects beginning farmers with affordable farmland, thus fostering Vermont’s next generation of farmers.

Land that does not have conservation value: We will gladly accept gifts of other types of real estate (e.g. house on lot or buildable small lot); although, we have developed minimum criteria for accepting land gifts to ensure that the associated costs (including a title search, legal fees, and property taxes, etc.) do not consume the proceeds from an eventual sale of the property, leaving nothing for conservation. Most often we will sell this land and use the proceeds to build our endowment, conserve land, or fund a particular program. In some situations, we may convey the property to a community land trust for affordable housing.

If you like to learn more about donating real estate to the Vermont Land Trust, please call Christa at (802) 262-1229.


Do you want to donate land but still live on it?

Some landowners have donated land to us, but have reserved the right for themselves (and sometimes others) to use and enjoy the property during their lifetimes. This is known as a gift of a ‘remainder interest’. Gifts of remainder interests are usually made by landowners who have decided (irrevocably) that they want to leave the property to the Vermont Land Trust.

A gift of remainder interest in land allows donors to take advantage of an immediate income tax deduction and ensures that the Vermont Land Trust will automatically receive the land at the donors’ deaths, without the delay and expense of probate.

We are always happy to prepare an analysis of how a gift of a Remainder Interest in Land would work for you. Please contact Christa at (802) 262-1229 to learn more. Or, if you prefer, read more detailed information about remainder interest gifts.

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