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Thiele seeks tax exemptions for conserved, historic properties

JULIE LANE PHOTO COURTESY PHOTO | Assembly Fred Thiele introduces legislation to end state taxes on transfers of conserved or historic properties.

JULIE LANE PHOTO
COURTESY PHOTO | Assembly Fred Thiele introduces legislation to end state taxes on transfers of conserved or historic properties.

If Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) is successful, property being conserved would be free from state transfer taxes.Mr. Thiele’s proposed legislation would apply to any nonprofit tax-exempt corporation operated for conservation, environmental or historic preservation purposes.

Under existing law, there are two state real estate transfer taxes on such conveyances. The general transfer tax amounts to $2 per $500 of the worth of the property. An additional transfer tax applies to property valued at more than $1 million and that amounts to 1 percent of the value.

Most conserved properties on the East End are transferred at a value of $1 million or more, making them subject to both taxes, Mr. Thiele said.

These transfers are already exempt from the Peconic Bay Region Community Preservation Fund 2 percent tax that is otherwise paid by private purchases of properties.

The existence of a state transfer tax on properties that are meant to preserve land acts as “a penalty to conservation,” Mr. Thiele said.

“It makes no sense that a state which has a $300 million Environmental Protection Fund for land preservation and to assist the operations of local land trusts would at the same time tax their efforts to conserve,” the legislator said.

“It makes no sense to tax transactions where private conservation organizations are doing the public good. The money can do more good for preservation than it can in the state general fund,” he said.

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