Conservation Easement Tax Credits
Ten years ago under then Governor Mark Warner, this program was enacted. Since that time, Virginia’s taxpayers have wasted $1 Billion (Bn) in their taxes on a program that is dubious at best in its outcome. Worse, it is suspicious in its accuracy and terrifyingly poorly managed when one considers that $1 Bn of Virginia taxpayer’s money has been spent on this program.
Simplified, this program pays land owners to permanently restrict their land from being developed. To those opposed to growth that is seen as a positive. We find it of concern why “in perpetuity” anyone would want to preserve any tract of land from being developed. The fact is that “in perpetuity” is an exceptionally long time.
When Captain John Smith first set his foot in Virginia in 1607, if he had claimed the property for the Crown and immediately put a Conservation Easement on it, none of us would have homes, there would be no shopping centers or office buildings or any other places of employment. If he was not able to see ahead 343 years, what makes us think we can see ahead 100 years?
The bottom line for a land investor is that by buying land unburdened by Conservation Easements, you are acquiring an asset that is diminishing in quantity every year to the tune of $100 Million. There is a point in the future that land that can be developed will have exceptional value, because so much of Virginia’s land will not be able to be developed. The unintended consequence of this flawed governmental process is to drive up the value of land that is available for development.
We believe that those investors who buy good tracts of land today will look exceptionally brilliant in five years. Let us help you. We enjoy making our clients look brilliant.