A bill before the U.S. House of Representatives would make permanent the enhanced federal tax deductions related to conservation easements, which includes qualified donations of historically and architecturally significant properties.  The Conservation Easement Incentive Act of 2014, H.R. 2807,  will encourage more property owners of certified historic structures to protect their investment through the donation of a preservation easement.

When property owners voluntarily agree to protect their historic properties from demolition or further development, the federal government gives them a deduction on their income taxes to recognize the charitable gift they’re making for Georgians and all Americans.  Entrepreneurs and expanding businesses locate in our historic downtowns, residential developers adaptively reuse our historic industrial buildings, and new families become stewards of historic houses from generations past.  In each case it safeguards our architectural history while offering new owners the unique quality of life they seek and a potential tax benefit.

If enacted, the legislation would make permanent the enhanced tax benefit for donation of conservation easements effective in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2013.  In a description prepared by the Joint Committee on Taxation, the enhanced provision allows taxpayers to deduct up to 50 percent of their annual adjusted gross income instead of 30 percent, and to extend the deduction over a 15-year period rather than the current five years.

H.R. 2807 received favorable votes from the House Ways and Means Committee on May 29.  With 220 co-sponsors, the bill has a better-than-average chance of being enacted.  Five of our local Georgia congressmen, Reps. John Lewis from Georgia’s 5th District, Phil Gingrey from the 11th District, Tom Price from the 6th District, Austin Scott from the 8th District, and Lynn Westmoreland from the 3rd District recognize the role of this tax deduction in protecting our state’s conservation values and have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. Easements Atlanta, Inc., thanks each of the Georgia Congressmen for taking a stand to protect our cultural and architectural heritage through these economic incentives.  EAI will update this post as H.R. 2807 moves through the House and Senate.

Update: July 3

The House Ways and Means Committee filed its report on H.R. 2807, and they are getting ready for a vote by the full House!

Update: July 11

H.R. 2807,  the Conservation Easement Incentive Act, came to a vote July 11 on the Congressional House floor as part of a larger charities package and passed successfully.  The provision officially reached a bipartisan majority of the House with 222 co-sponsors. The bill is the first time since 2006 that the conservation easement community has been able to get a vote like this on the House floor and we’re taking full advantage of this historic opportunity as it continues to the Senate.  EAI will update this post as H.R. 2807 moves through the Senate.