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Chair - Chris West
Vice Chair - William Boortz
The Conservation Easement Oversight Commission (Commission) gives advice and recommendations to the Colorado Division of Real Estate (Division) on the certification of easement holders and appraisals of conservation easements, and reviews applications for tax credit certificates and optional preliminary advisory opinions. The Commission is comprised of nine members: three permanent members from state agencies with responsibilities for conservation and six members appointed by the Governor for three-year terms. Commission meetings are held at least quarterly and are open to the public.
A new law, Senate Bill 13-221, went into effect January 1, 2014 that authorizes the Division to review applications for a conservation easement tax credit certificate. Under Senate Bill 13-221, the Conservation Easement Oversight Commission has the authority to assess whether conservation easement donations are qualified conservation contributions. The Division Director has authority to determine whether the donation is supported by a credible appraisal. The Department of Revenue no longer has jurisdiction over conservation purposes and the appraisal.
The Division is currently accepting applications for both 2013 and 2014 tax credit certificates.
A conservation easement is a voluntary, legally-binding and perpetual restriction that limits certain uses and prevents future development of a property. It is a recorded deed restriction enforced by a non-profit land trust or a governmental entity also called a conservation easement holder. Important conservation values, such as habitat, open space, scenic views, agriculture, outdoor recreation, and education, are protected forever.
Landowners who donate all or a portion of a conservation easement to a conservation easement holder may may earn a dollar-for-dollar transferable state income tax credit at the amount of 50% of the donation value with a maximum credit of $375,000 if certain requirements are met.
To claim the tax credit, landowners must apply for a tax credit certificate, which is a document issued by the Division.
The total dollar amount of conservation easement tax credits is limited, or “capped”, each year. The Division administers the tax credit cap by issuing tax credit certificates to landowners in the order completed applications are received. Beginning in 2014, the annual cap is $45,000,000 and any applications submitted after the cap is reached are placed on a $15 million waitlist for the next year.
Non-profit land trusts and governmental entities (also called conservation easement holders) must be certified by the Division before the organization accepts a conservation easement for which a state tax credit will be claimed. In 2014, there are currently 41 organizations certified to hold easements generating a state income tax credit.
The Division will not issue a tax credit certificate unless the appraiser has taken the mandatory Conservation Easement Appraiser Update Course. Please note that completion of the course does not certify the competency of the appraiser to perform conservation easement appraisals.
Additional resources regarding conservation easements and tax credits.
The real estate manual contains all statutes, rules and position statements. The annual Real Estate Manual is a useful resource for any licensee.
Visit the Proposed and Revised Rules & Position Statements page to view proposed rules and get information on upcoming rulemaking hearing or download new rules and position statements that were recently adopted.
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