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Conservation Easements

Conservation easements (sometimes called preservation easements) are voluntary legal agreements that can be used to protect significant historic, archaeological, or cultural resources. If certain criteria are met, an owner who donates an easement may be eligible for tax benefits. The information on this website does not constitute tax advice. Contact your tax advisor for individual advice on your unique tax situation.

Easements to Protect Historic Properties: A Useful Historic Preservation Tool with Potential Tax Benefits, available on the National Park Service website, describes easements and the related federal tax incentives.

Preservation Hotline #5: Protecting Historic Properties with Conservation Easements, produced by the State Historic Preservation Office, includes a list of South Carolina organizations that accept easements.

The South Carolina Conservation Easement Act of 1991 (Sections 27-8-10 through 27-8-80, South Carolina Code of Laws) provides a sound legal basis for the donation of conservation easements to preserve the historic, architectural, or archaeological aspects of properties. The law also makes the donation of easements more attractive by requiring the local tax assessor to consider the easement when assessing the value of the property.

The South Carolina Department of Revenue publication Local, State and Federal Tax Incentives for Conservation Easements describes the requirements and implications of the tax incentives for conservation easements in South Carolina.

Easement Resources on the National Trust for Historic Preservation website includes an overview, as well as updates on easement laws and legal cases.

This website does not provide legal, tax or accounting advice; the information provided is intended to be general in nature; and visitors to the website are strongly encouraged to consult their own professional tax, accounting and legal advisors on individual tax matters, or consult the SC Department of Revenue or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The SHPO is not responsible for the information or advice provided here as it may affect the specific tax consequences to any individual (including sole proprietor), corporate, partnership, estate or trust taxpayer, which will depend on many other facts and circumstances. The information is for the general benefit of persons interested in obtaining certifications from the SHPO that may allow them to qualify for federal and/or state historic income tax credits. Given the frequency of changes in federal and state tax laws, regulations and guidance, the information represents a good faith effort to reference controlling laws and regulations as accurately as possible.