If you Google conservation easements, you get the IRS’s Dirty Dozen list of those that have abused them. Make no mistake, laws are written to allow certain situations to benefit the taxpayer. There's a difference between doing it right and wrong.
In this episode, Toby Mathis of Anderson Advisors welcomes back Tyler Surat to talk about the right way that conservation easements can benefit investors. Tyler works in the alternative energy sources industry and helps farmers and others with the conservation and preservation of their land by creating easements.
Savvy tax investors or business people and individuals use conservation easements to do two things—help society and the environment, and get a tax benefit as a result. If you are not interested in helping the environment, then it's probably not something for you to do. The purpose is conservation.
- What is a conservation easement? The U.S. government quit using funds to purchase land to conserve and expected constituents or the public to do so.
- How did the government incentivize them? Through taxes, which is its greatest asset to offer. It’s a trade. You take a viable development or property that could be developed in some form that has a large market value. It must be developed; hold conservation piece.
- Does it actually hold that conservation effort? The government will offer a tax deduction for the market-developed value of that property.
- What's the good, bad, and ugly of conservation? Somebody with land or something may use conservation easements to benefit themselves. The investor can be involved, too.
- What if ranchers have land that can be developed? If they do, can they continue to farm and ranch that land? If they can, then they typically take beautiful portions of the ranch or what they own, something that somebody would desire. They have true conservation.
- Is it at the same multiple in private and group investments? Probably not, but their purpose is true conservation. Benefit from it.
- What is given up or away with conservation easements? You're basically giving up the developed rights. Once you conserve and place that easement on that land, that land's not worth $2,000 an acre anymore. It's worth less because a land developer can't buy it. The only person that would want to buy it - somebody that wants green space.
- Are green spaces in highly developed areas? They can have townhomes.
- What are good investors doing now? Reaching out to local appraisers and getting that local feel. A good provider provides ample documents for investors to be well informed.
- When you become a partner, you're investing in real estate development. What are the three options? Do nothing, develop, or conserve.
- Do all states follow conservation easements or allow the deductibility? Most states go off adjusted gross or taxable income. They never get to see the conservation portion.
- Do most people know about the statute of limitations for conservation? Three years from the time you exhaust the deduction.
Tyler Surat’s Phone Number: 719-580-3051