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Subject: Tax Relief for Owners of Property Protected by Easement

1.  Tax Relief for Owners of Property Protected by Easement

Posted 6 days ago
I would be interested in hearing from those who have successfully advised the owners of historic property protected by preservation easements on how to obtain relief from local taxing authorities.

It seems to be widely understood that an easement reduces the value of property -- such that the IRS recognizes that donating an easement can be considered a tax-deductible charitable donation.  Similarly, an owner who is unable to donate an easement would rightly be expected to seek compensation to sell one to an appropriate organization.

But local taxing units seem to be less inclined to recognize this.

Have you found a successful path for property owners to argue for a reduced appraisal, based on the fact that they cannot tear down their existing historic building to construct a McMansion or other larger, more expensive, and potentially more valuable structure?

It seems paradoxical that the process of putting an easement into place recognizes an easement's cash value, while the process of taxing properties with easements is reluctant to do so.

How have you advised property owners who are paying taxes as though their properties were not protected -- even though they are?

Thanks for any insights you can provide -

George Born
Land & Community Heritage Investment Program
Concord NH