Donations of Land

How you benefit

Donating land for conservation purposes is one of the most enduring legacies a person can leave. It can also offer significant tax benefits.

Donating land is especially worth considering if you:

  • have no heirs or your heirs have no interest in your land or you don't wish your land to go to them;
  • own property that you no longer use or wish to care for;
  • own property that has increased greatly in value and want to reduce your exposure to capital gains taxes;
  • want to reduce the estate tax burden for your heirs and other beneficiaries.

PVAS is always willing to consider accepting donations of land. We are particularly interested in land that would be suitable for a nature preserve. Under some circumstances we might also accept a property that we could retain as an income-producing asset or sell for income.

You can make a land donation in any of the following ways:

Outright Donation
A land donation made now as an outright gift can have immediate tax benefits by providing substantial income tax deductions and avoiding capital gains taxes that would result from selling the property. For the long term, it can also help reduce your family's exposure to estate tax burdens later on.
Remainder Interest Donation
If you want to retain use of your land for the rest of your life but still get some tax benefits now from making a donation, you can donate a remainder interest to PVAS and retain a reserved life estate. Under such an arrangement, you continue to live on and/or use your property and continue to be responsible for all taxes, insurance and maintenance. The tax deduction you receive now is based on the fair market value of your donated property minus the expected value of the reserved life estate. PVAS gains full title and control over the property only after you pass away or decide to relinquish your life estate.
Donation by bequest
If you want to retain full ownership of your land for your lifetime but make sure the land goes to PVAS afterwards, a simple bequest is your best option. All donations made through bequests will be deductible from your gross estate for estate-tax purposes. Click here for more information on bequests.

Please remember the following:

  • No matter what form they take, donations of land should not be entered into lightly.
  • Because children and other family members often have special attachments to land, you should consult carefully with your family to make sure they are completely comfortable with the idea.
  • You should also consult with us to make sure that your property is suitable for the purpose that you envision for it, and that you are comfortable with our ability to manage it in the way you envision.
  • Finally, because the tax benefits of donating a specific piece of land can vary widely according to the always-changing complexities of federal and state tax laws, your particular financial circumstances, and what the receiving charity does with the land, you should consult with your attorney or accountant or financial advisor as well.
  • If you want your land to become a nature preserve, we hope you will also consider providing some sort of cash payment or endowment to accompany your land donation if you are able to do so. Establishing and maintaining a nature preserve always entails at least some costs, and it helps us greatly if resources are provided to assist us with those costs.

Questions? To consult with us about donating a specific property or for more information please contact Kristin Alexander or call 304-676-3397.

           © 2016 Potomac Valley Audubon Society

              P.O. Box 578 • Shepherdstown, West Virginia 25443
              phone // 304-676-3397

Yankauer Nature Preserve (Berkeley County)
Eidolon Nature Preserve (Morgan County)
Stauffer's Marsh (Berkeley County)
Cool Spring Nature Preserve (Jefferson County)

Kristin Alexander, Executive Director //   304-676-3397

Kimberly Baldwin, Program Director //

Katelyn "KC" Walters, Conservation and Land Manager // 304-283-7319

Krista Hawley, Adult Program Coordinator
// 703-303-1026

Amy Moore, Cool Spring Preserve Manager and Naturalist // 240-818-4714
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