A Big Win for Land Conservation in Colorado

In early June, Colorado legislature passed HB21-1233, the Conservation Easement Enhancement and Rural Stimulus Act, which encourages private land conservation by enhancing Colorado’s conservation tax credit program.

For years, Colorado has provided specialized tax credits to landowners who donate their conservation easements to land trusts as a way to promote land conservation throughout the state. Previously, tax credits were capped at just over 50% of the fair market value of a donated easement, but this legislation increases that incentive to 90% of the donated value. And if landowners choose to sell their tax credits through a broker, buyers and sellers are no longer required to file their returns at the same time.

The Act also expands the types of landowners who may access the enhanced tax credit program, such as water conservancies and ditch and acequia organizations.

Further, certain administrative procedures are enhanced within the Division of Conservation, including a new tax credit tracking system and a program for orphaned easements.

The Act was proposed and shepherded by the policy committee and staff at Keep It Colorado, a nonprofit coalition that works to advance conservation on private lands based on input from land trusts across the state. There were many others who worked diligently to ensure this bill was passed, including The Nature Conservancy, Tax Credit Connection, lobbyist Gaspar Perricone, Rep. Dylan Roberts, Rep. Perry Will, Sen. Faith Winter, and Sen Kerry Donovan.

Thanks to their effort, we look forward to a bright future for private land conservation in Colorado.