NYS Conservation Easement Tax Credit
The information below does not constitute legal or tax advice. DEC recommends discussing land conservation options with a legal and/or tax professional.
The Conservation Easement Tax Credit (CETC) offers New York State taxpayers an annual income tax credit of 25% on their school district, county, and town property taxes up to $5,000. If a landowner's tax credit exceeds the amount he or she owes in state income taxes, the landowner receives a payment for the difference.
The Conservation Easement Tax Credit is available to owners of property encumbered with an Article 49 Conservation Easement. These owners may include individual landowners, estates and trusts (including beneficiaries of an estate or trust), partners in a partnership (including a limited liability corporation that is treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes), and business corporations taxed under Article 9-A or the Tax Law. The CETC is not available to Subchapter S corporations, not-for-profit corporations, or other kinds of corporations. If you are unsure if you qualify, you may contact the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance.
Landowners who do not reside in New York State need to file a nonresident and part-year resident income tax return each year to receive the CETC.
Conservation Easement Eligibility
To qualify for the CETC, the conservation easement must meet the following requirements:
- It must be a permanent conservation easement as defined in Article 49 of New York State's Environmental Conservation Law.
- The eased land must be located in New York State.
- The easement must be held by a public or private conservation agency.
- Public conservation agencies include any agency of federal, state, and local governments including soil and water conservation districts, as well as local municipalities such as villages, towns, and counties.
- Private conservation agencies include not-for-profit land trusts and any other not-for-profit organizations that are involved with land conservation and have the power to acquire interests in real property.
- The easement must be registered with DEC and have a DEC CE identification number.
- The easement must comply with Section 170 (h) of the Internal Revenue Code; i.e. it was donated or partially donated (sold for less than fair market value) to a public or private conservation agency.
Note: Non-Article 49 conservation easements such as utility or transportation rights-of-way easements, scenic easements, easements created to obtain subdivision or building permits, or easements that were required as mitigation are not eligible for the CETC. Additionally, Article 49 conservation easements purchased at market value are also ineligible.
Information Needed to claim the Credit
Landowners will need the following information to file the Conservation Easement Tax Credit:
- A copy of the filed easement
- Location of the easement-restricted property
- Date the easement was filed - this date should be listed on the easement document itself, but it can also be obtained from the county clerk's office or the conservation agency that holds the easement
- Recording information including the county the easement was recorded in, and the liber and page, instrument number or control number - this information can be obtained from the county clerk's office or the conservation agency that holds the easement
- Name of the public or private conservation agency holding the easement
- DEC CE identification number assigned to the easement when it was filed with DEC - this information can be obtained from DEC's Bureau of Real Property or the agency that holds the easement
- County, town, and school district property taxes paid on the easement-restricted land - this information can be obtained from a tax bill or tax receiver, or from your local assessor
Forms needed to claim the CETC can be accessed by visiting the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance website.
For information regarding your conservation easement, please contact the easement holder listed on the easement document or you may contact DEC's Bureau of Real Property at (518) 402-9442 or email [email protected]. For tax information, please contact the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance.