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 gives you an income tax deduction for the land’s fair-market value; avoids capital gains taxes; removes the property from your taxable estate; and supports conservation.
Learn about Nancy Boardman’s decision to donate her land:
Donating 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.
A conservation easement is a legal document that spells out protections for the land, such as limits on development, subdivision, or restrictions that protect natural features. Conservation easements are permanent and apply to all future owners of the land.
The proceeds we get from selling donated land are used to build our endowment, conserve additional land, or support a program chosen by the donor.
Depending on the property, we may conserve donated parcels smaller than 50 acres, retain ownership of a property, or give it to a town or the state for public use.
If we receive 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.
Donating land that will not be conserved
We will gratefully accept gifts of other types of real estate, such as small parcels, house lots, etc.
However, we don’t accept all gifts of land. We have developed criteria for accepting land gifts to ensure that costs—including a title search, legal fees, and property taxes—do not consume the proceeds from an eventual sale of the property, leaving nothing for conservation.
Most often we will sell donated land and then use the proceeds to build our endowment, conserve land, or fund a particular program. In some situations, we may give the property to a community land trust for affordable housing.
It is possible to donate land and continue to 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—known as a gift of land with a reserved life-estate.
This type of land gift allows donors to take advantage of an immediate income tax deduction and ensures that we will automatically receive the land upon the donors’ deaths, without the delay and expense of probate.
Want to learn more?
If you would like to learn more about donating real estate to the Vermont Land Trust, please call Christa at (802) 262-1229.