Tax Bill, Land Conservation, and You

With each donation you give, you help ensure the lands you love are well cared for and maintained as wildlife habitats, hiking trails, and places to enjoy with family and friends. But our work, as well as the work of all nonprofit organizations, may be devastated by the federal tax reform bill. What’s important to know about the tax reform bill?
  • Reduces the number of taxpayers who can itemize their charitable deductions, so that 95% of taxpayers would no longer receive a tax incentive for donating to their communities. The Charitable Giving Coalition shares that the current “charitable deduction has been good tax policy because it achieved its goal – increasing charitable giving.”
  • An alternative solution is to make charitable deductions available to all taxpayers as a universal charitable deduction.
  • Eliminates the Johnson Amendment (in the House approved version); it’s the provision in the tax code which requires nonprofits to be nonpartisan.
  • Upholding this amendment keeps partisan politics out of the work of nonprofits.
  • Doubles the estate tax exemption to about $11 million for single taxpayers and $22 million for married taxpayers
  • This may serve not only to disincentivize general bequests, but also bequests of land.
Congress is working on a fast deadline to get the tax reform bill passed before the end of the year. Since the Senate and House each passed different versions of the bill, members will be appointed to form a committee to negotiate a compromised version. That negotiated version will be sent to the House of Representatives and Senate for final vote.
It’s important to know that 97% of our annual budget is funded from individual donors like you. If the bill moves forward with the reduced number of taxpayers taking charitable deductions, our donations may plummet drastically, impacting our ability to keep our trails open for you, offer programs, and conduct wildlife studies on the preserves.
What can you do? Please contact your Connecticut Congressional Delegation if the work of nonprofit organizations like Steep Rock Association is important to you. Ask that they continue to oppose these provisions that will severely impact the work of your land trust as well as other non-profit charities. Stay updated with the Independent Sector’s summary and dashboard on these tax bill issues as they relate overall to nonprofit organizations across the nation.
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