When you donate land, you can receive an income tax deduction for up to the fair market value and pay no capital gains on the transfer if you’ve owned the land for more than a year.
From small building lots to family forests, gifts of land often come with deep histories and great generosity. They also have significant tax benefits.
Peace of mind for your future
There are many reasons why people donate land to us. Perhaps you inherited a family home or property that you can’t care for. Or you are seeking to reduce tax burdens for you and your heirs.
When you donate real estate to the Vermont Land Trust you support the financial health of our organization and help us protect more land. You also gain peace of mind, knowing that your donation will make a difference for future generations.
For over 45 years, we’ve worked in partnership with landowners who want to donate land. Our experts in estate planning and real estate transactions are here to guide you. As a prior investment advisor and retirement planner, Christa Kemp, our Director of Donor Relations, is your first point of contact.Contact Christa
Join others who have donated land
Twenty-five years ago, Lew and Claudia Rose bought 120 wooded acres in Enosburg. In 2012, they worked with us to conserve their woodland, and, in 2023, they donated their land to us while reserving the right to use and enjoy it during their lifetimes.
“We came from the Midwest and were disheartened to see the mass development there. So, when we came here, it was like, ‘Wow, this is great.’ We now work as much as we can to help keep this land intact and as beautiful as it is.” — Lew Rose
How it works
When you choose to donate land to us, we will assess whether that land is a good candidate for permanent protection. If you are seeking to donate productive farmland, a large forest block, or land of ecological or culture importance, we may choose to conserve it and transfer it to a new owner. Very rarely do we continue to own land that we receive. If you are donating real estate such as a family home, house lot, or smaller parcel, we would assess its viability and sell it on the open market.
To maximize our limited staff resources, we don’t accept every land gift that comes our way.
Five simple steps
- Contact us if you’re interested in donating real estate.
- Our experts can assess the conservation potential of your land or home and possible re-sale value. We can also share other ways to support our efforts.
- Speak with your financial advisor to understand the tax benefits.
- If each of us agrees to move forward, we can work with you and your advisors to complete the transaction. If we don’t move forward, we can point you to other resources that could help.
- Gain peace of mind in knowing that your land gift will support conservation in the years to come.
Common questions about donating land
No. When we accept a gift, it becomes both an asset and liability, and something we must care for. Gifts we accept have a strong potential to advance our mission without additional burden.
You can choose to create a reserved life estate that provides tax benefits now. This gives you the right to use and enjoy the land during your lifetime (though you remain responsible for expenses, including taxes, and upkeep so long as you live there). The land would then be transferred to us upon your death, or earlier, should you choose.