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Giving to Bethany Land Trust Inc.

The Bethany Land Trust, Inc. is not just the little neighborhood group that gives pleasant nature seminars.  We are a fully IRS recognized 501C3 publicly supported charitable organization, established in 1968, that holds real property for the benefit of the general public for conservation, education and recreational purposes.  Donations to the Trust are tax-deductible donations to charity.  Your donation to the Trust will be utilized 100% to do good works in your community.  All our officers and directors are unpaid volunteers.  If you donate to larger charitable organizations, consider donating funds to your local conservation organization, the Bethany Land Trust, Inc.

OUTRIGHT DONATION

The most common way to give to the Land Trust is an outright gift.

Gifts of Cash are fully tax-deductible up to 50% of your adjusted gross income with a five year carry forward.

Gifts of Stock are fully tax-deductible.  You do not have to pay capital gains tax on appreciated stock.  Appreciated stock is generally tax-deductible in the first year up to 30% of adjusted gross income (remaining amounts may be carried forward for five years).  Unappreciated stock is deductible in the same manner as cash.

Gifts of Real Estate are also generally fully tax deductible, and like appreciated stock, no capital gains tax need be paid.  The donation is generally tax deductible in the first year up to 30% of adjusted gross income (remaining amounts may also be carried forward for five years).  An independent qualified appraisal is required by the IRS for any charitable deduction of this kind.  You can even give your home or land to the Trust while retaining a life use in it.  There are some exceptions to the general deductibility rules, so you should always consult your personal tax advisor prior to making a gift.
            When giving a gift of real property, you should discuss ahead of time the Trust’s plans for the property.  If the land does not meet our conservation goals, the property will be gratefully accepted as “trade land” on the understanding that it will be sold and the funds derived from the sale will be used to protect other conservation land. The land trust has never, and will never, sell land without the express understanding of the donor. So even though your current property may not meet the Trust’s conservation goals, this should not dissuade you if you would like to further the Trust’s mission with a donation.  One local land trust received a gift of a home with acreage.  By the donor’s expressed wishes, the home was sold and the funds received by the Trust were used to endow the acreage forever and provide a “war chest” for the purchase of many additional properties.

BEQUESTS

A simple way to donate to the Trust is through your will.  Gifts to the Trust are free of federal estate tax.  Cash, stock and land can be donated by will.  If you are donating land, we ask that you contact us first so that we can insure that your wishes will be fulfilled by the gift. Additionally, the Trust can be made a beneficiary of your IRA or life insurance.  Gifts of real property which are to be protected by the Trust in perpetuity, are generally named for the donor or as the donor wishes.

CONSERVATION EASEMENTS 

An easement is an interest in land.  Conservation easements are contracts which run in perpetuity to protect the conservation values of a particular piece of land.  When you own property you have a variety of rights – like a bundle of sticks.  You can give up some of those “sticks” in an easement.  A Conservation Easement (also known as a Conservation Restriction) can be crafted to fit the needs of the parties.  The retained rights can include the right to harvest timber, reserve a house lot, ride, hike, or farm, as long as they do not violate the essential conservation purpose of the easement.  Easements can be given as a lifetime gift, bargain sale, or by will.  If an easement is donated by will, the specific terms of the easement should be worked out with the land trust or the right to grant the post-mortem easement must be given by will to the executor of the estate.
The value of the rights given up in an easement are deductible in the manner of a charitable donation.  A qualified appraisal establishing the before and after valuation of the property must be acquired in order to receive a deduction and the IRS has strict rules that must be adhered to in the easement process.
A new law which WAS in effect for 2006 to 2007 gave special tax incentives for the donation of a conservation easement.  This raised the deduction a donor could take from 30% of AGI to 50%.  Qualifying farmers could deduct up to 100% of their income.  And a donor could carry forward the deduction up to 15 years instead of the usual 5.  Congress is now working on reinstating those incentives and making them permanent.

If you would like to learn more about charitable giving, please call us.  Remember, a donation to this local organization will give maximum value to your charitable giving.  All our officers and directors are volunteers and your funds will be used in your home town.  For the tax consequences of any specific gift you should consult a qualified accountant who is advised of your particular circumstances.  The land trust makes no representations as to the tax consequences of any particular gift.

Remember the Land Trust in your will: Painless giving and a lasting legacy

Your current membership and contributions to the Bethany Land Trust help assure that the rural character of Bethany will be preserved and provide you with a sense of spiritual satisfaction.  Including charitable gifts in your will or estate plan is another important way to meet these goals for yourself and for your family.  Moreover, your family will have the satisfaction of knowing, and being able to tell the world, that you were a person who cared – that you wanted your death to be an occasion for rejoicing at the good we can do for each other as members of a community.
         The charitable acts of past generations testify to the healing that such a gift can offer to those who will grieve your passing. A first step is to review your existing plans. If you already have charitable bequests in your estate plan, or a charitable remainder trust that lets you alter beneficiaries, it is usually a simple and inexpensive matter to carve out a modest place for the land trust from what you are already contributing. If you are considering a gift of property to the land trust, it is best if you talk with a land trust representative about your hopes and dreams for the property so you can be assured that we are aware of them.  In accepting a donation of land the land trust is promising to protect the land in perpetuity.  An awesome responsibility.   In the rare instance where the land does not meet our conservation goals, the property would be gratefully accepted as “trade land” on the understanding that it will be sold and the funds derived from the sale will be used to protect other conservation land. To date, the land trust has never sold land, and we would never do so unless it is the express understanding with the donor.  So even though your current property may not meet the Trust’s conservation goals, this should not dissuade you if you would like to further the Trust’s mission with a donation.  One local land trust received a gift of a home with acreage.  By the donor’s expressed wishes, the home was sold and the funds received by the Trust were used to endow the acreage forever and provide a “war chest” for the purchase of many additional properties.
Remember that gifts included in you will or otherwise made payable upon your death will be deductible for federal estate tax purposes and for Connecticut estate tax purposes.  Although both taxes are in the process of change, it is realistic to expect that some kind of “death tax” will remain in place at the time of your death. The charitable estate tax deduction/succession tax deduction means that the “cost” of making a gift to charity upon your death is less than you may think.

For the tax consequences of any specific gift you should consult a qualified accountant and attorney who are advised of your particular circumstances.  The land trust makes no representations as to the tax consequences of any particular gift.

 

 

 

 

© 2007 Bethany Land Trust, Inc.