The West Virginia Land Trust is advocating for S.B. 554, the Land Conservation Tax Credit Act of 2016. This bill provides for a state tax credit equal to 50 percent of the fair market value of donated conservation easements up to $1 million per year. Credits may be carried forward for five years, and would be transferable to any entity with a West Virginia tax liability. Donated easements and lands must demonstrate an economic and/or public benefit to West Virginia citizens. The administration of the credits is to be split between the WV Agricultural Land Protection Authority and the WV Outdoor Heritage Conservation Fund, with oversight by the WV Department of Tax and Revenue.
This bill simply sets up the framework for the program, and therefore has no fiscal impact on the state’s budget; actual implementation at some point in the future will require sufficient funding. The bill does create a tax credit account to receive funds from a variety of sources. Tax credits cannot be awarded unless they are offset by revenue from this account, hence the program will be revenue neutral.
(Source: “Pass SB554: Land Conservation Tax Credit Act.”)