Resources for Landowners
Federal Tax Incentives
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North Carolina Conservation Tax Credit Program Overview
Why do we have a Conservation Tax Credit?
North Carolina recognizes the importance of land conservation to its economy, and offers a tax credit program to promote conservation of ecosystem functions (fish and wildlife conservation and conservation of natural areas), ecosystem services (farmland conservation) and other public benefits (public access to public trails, waters, and beaches).
The N.C. Conservation Tax Credit Program, established as GS 113A-231, as well as GS 105-130.34 and 151.12 exists as an incentive for private landowners to voluntarily conserve their land. When a landowner donates a conservation easement or fee simple deed to a qualified recipient, they may receive a tax credit to apply against their state income taxes. The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resource’s responsibility is to certify that the donation results in one or more of the public conservation benefits required by statute.
- Donations must serve a public benefit that is useful for:
- Public beach access or use,
- Public access to public waters or trails,
- Fish and wildlife conservation,
- Forestland or farmland conservation,
- Watershed protection,
- Conservation of natural areas as that term is defined in G.S. 113A-164.3(3),
- Conservation of natural or scenic river areas as those terms are used in G.S. 113A-34,
- Conservation of predominantly natural parkland, or
- Historic landscape conservation
Tax Credit Details
The N.C. Conservation Tax Credit is equal to 25 percent of the fair market value of interest in real property donated for conservation purposes, per G.S. 105-151.12 for individuals and G.S. 105-130-34 for corporations.
- Up to $250,000 for individuals
- Up to $500,000 for corporations, pass-through entities, or married couples filing jointly
- It may be carried forward for up to five years.
- The credit is non-transferable.
- Land dedicated under local government regulation or ordinance, or dedications made to increase building density levels are not eligible.
- Qualifying for federal deductions under Section 170(h), or receiving funds from state granting programs does not automatically qualify a donor for state credit.
Who would be a Qualified Recipient?
- State government
- Local government
- Qualified non-profit organization, incorporated to receive and administer land for conservation purposes and receive charitable contributions under G.S 105-130.9
Certification Review Process
The N.C. Department of Justice and the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources both review Conservation Tax Credit applications. To determine if the donation will receive certification, DENR reviews applications with two questions in mind:
- Does the donation provide one or more of the public benefits listed above?
- Does the instrument of transfer adequately protect/conserve public benefit(s)?
More detailed information regarding North Carolina Conservation Tax Credits can be found at: