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Thiele objects to tax law on deductions for contributions

COURTESY PHOTO Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor)

Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) is opposing a proposed Internal Revenue Service rule that would limit tax deductions for charitable contributions.The proposal called “Contributions in Exchange for State or Local Tax Credits” would reduce the availability of charitable contribution deductions when a taxpayer donates to a charity and receives state or local credit for doing so.

The ruling if adopted would include the Conservation Easement Tax Credit that offers New York State taxpayers a refundable income tax credit of 25 percent of their school district, county and town property taxes paid during the year.

New York is one of 16 stated to provide state tax credits or enhanced deductions to encourage conservation easements, Mr. Thiele said.

The purpose of the easement is to limit or eliminate future development and undesirable land uses on a property to protect a variety of natural resources and landscape values, including water quality, wildlife habitat, sensitive ecosystems, wetlands, riparian areas, scenic areas, working forests and farms and historic sites.

Hundreds of thousands of acres of land are protected by conservation easement acquired by the state, Mr. Thiele said.

The Peconic Land Trust, an expert land trust organization that has been instrumental in conservation efforts on the East End, and other environmental advocacy groups have also opposed the federal tax proposal.

“I am concerned that diminishing the financial incentive for landowners to enter conservation easements would greatly jeopardize conservation efforts and result in far less land being conserved than would have been under current law,” Mr. Thiele said.

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