Helena, Mont. (Dec 18, 2015) – The Montana Land Reliance, a statewide land trust that has worked with private landowners to protect nearly one million acres of open space and working landscapes across Montana announced passage today of the measure in the tax and spending deal passed by Congress earlier today to fund the government through Sept. of 2016.
In previous years, the “enhanced tax incentives” which make easements deductible up to 100% of a landowners Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) for families making their living in agriculture, have been enacted some years and other years have not as part of “extenders” since 2006. The permanent incentive that makes conservation easements more workable for Montana farm and ranch families. In addition, it increases the carry forward of the tax benefit to the year of the easement, plus 15 years.
The nationwide effort to pass these tax incentives from land trusts across the country and the Land Trust Alliance (LTA), is a concept born right here in Montana at The Montana Land Reliance 16 years ago. Senator Baucus first introduced the concept in 2000 and championed the cause the remainder of his Senate career. “These cigars are a bit stale but we’re finally able to light them. We’ve waited for this day for some 16 years, and frankly, so have a lot of landowners out there. It’s an incredible shot in the arm for open space and land conservation” said Rock Ringling, Managing Director of The Montana Land Reliance.”
“The bottom line is, these enhanced tax incentives are what make easements more economically feasible for working folks here in Montana. Just like every business, farmers and ranchers want certainty. Families will have better ability to make thoughtful and informed decisions when it comes to long term planning,” said George Olsen, President of The Montana Land Reliance. “We’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Congressman Zinke for his support and leadership from start to finish,” said Olsen.