Heller land legislation passes U.S. House

Legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) was approved Thursday.

H.R. 644, a package of bills aimed at extending tax credits for charitable giving. The bills passed included legislation introduced by Heller, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act of 2015 (S.330).

“This bill is a culmination of more than a dozen years of work between state, local, and federal officials and I am pleased with the results. Nevada, with 87 percent of our land base controlled by the federal government, has the lowest percentage of private land of any state. We also face one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation,” said Senator Dean Heller. “I am pleased that this bill will provide economic opportunity while preserving the rural character of the Carson Valley. I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Reid to pass this important legislation for Douglas County.”

Heller authored his legislation along with Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Mike Kelly (R-PA). It provides a permanent enhanced tax incentive to family farmers, ranchers, and other landowners who choose not to develop their land and instead preserve their property for conservation. The bill is designed to preserve the nation’s farm lands and open spaces.

Under the Conservation Incentive Easement Act of 2015, landowners who donate their property’s development rights would maintain ownership and management of the land, but forgo their rights to develop the land in the future. The legislation would make permanent an enhanced tax incentive for donating development rights that expired at the end of 2014.

In addition, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act would also help moderate-income landowners choose conservation by:

Raising the maximum deduction a donor can take for donating a conservation easement from 30 percent of their adjusted gross income (AGI) in any year to 50 percent; allowing qualified farmers and ranchers to deduct up to 100 percent of their AGI; and increasing the number of years over which a donor can take this deduction from 5 to 15 years.

The Conservation Easement Incentive Act has been endorsed by the Land Trust Alliance, Ducks Unlimited, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Nature Conservancy, the National Sports Shooting Foundation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Mule Deer Foundation, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Forest Foundation, the National Audubon Society, the Wildlife Society, the California Association of Wine Growers, and National Wild Turkey Federation.


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