Deciding how to protect the natural or cultural features of your land is unique and personal. You may wish to protect the heritage values of your land for future generations. You may see conservation as a way to resolve property or potential income tax challenges. Or you may view it as an estate planning option.
Trained and experienced Bruce Trail Conservancy staff are ready to discuss the options available to you, and will assist you every step of the way to ensure your commitment to conservation creates a lasting natural legacy.
Ways to ensure your land creates a lasting natural legacy
Gift of Land:
Land donations are a complication-free way to ensure a permanent, natural legacy. Gifts of land remain in charitable trust and are protected forever. Land donations generate a tax receipt for the land’s value as determined by a third-party appraiser. The receipt can be used against your taxable income over 5 years including the year of donation. Other tax benefits may include an exemption on capital gains tax pertaining to the property, and the ability to apply the tax receipt to 100 percent of your annual income as opposed to the usual 75 percent income limit.
Land donations are of critical importance to the mission of the Bruce Trail Conservancy. A secure conservation corridor along the Niagara Escarpment, in our lifetimes, will not be possible without generous landowners donating their land to the BTC. The Bruce Trail Conservancy celebrates these donations with recognition of your gift through property naming, on-trail signage or by others means according to your wishes.
Ecological Gifts (Ecogifts)
The BTC can provide enhanced tax advantages if we process the land donation through Environment Canada's Ecological Gifts Program. This program provides an exemption on capital gains tax pertaining to the property and the ability to apply the tax credit to 100 percent of an individual’s net annual income as opposed to the usual 75 percent income limit. Also, donors can roll forward unused tax credits for up to 10 years
US residents can now receive a tax credit that can be used against their US income for donating land they own in Canada.
Bequest: Gift of Land in a Will
Bequeathing your land to the BTC is a very significant conservation option. Landowners may name the Bruce Trail Conservancy as a primary or secondary beneficiary in their wills. Bequests can generate a large tax credit for your estate, which may help to minimize or eliminate taxes on capital gains and to preserve assets for beneficiaries.
Split Receipt - Part Sale, Part Donation:
Landowners have the option to donate part of the value of their land and receive cash for the remainder. The donation portion can still be eligible for the Ecological Gifts Program. Split-receipting is applicable to all eligible transfers of real property. The minimum amount of donated value that Canada Revenue Agency accepts is 20 percent.
The BTC purchases land at fair market value as determined by a third party appraiser. We can buy all of the property or just the portion we need through a conservation severance. Unlike the average landowner, the BTC is a recognized conservation organization that can sever land on the Escarpment. This allows people to leverage cash out of their land while they hold onto the family cottage.
This option severs a portion of your property to allow for a land donation. A conservation severance is a popular option as it generates a tax receipt for the Fair Market Value of the donated land and it allows you to establish a natural landscape around your home that will be professionally stewarded and protected by the BTC in perpetuity.
Landowners interested in donating their property while continuing to live on it may consider a “life interest” agreement. This agreement is for a specified term. The BTC serves as the land steward, caring and maintaining the donated portion of land, beginning when an agreement is reached. A tax receipt issued for the donation reflects fair market value of the property minus the value of the life interest agreement. The receipt can be applied against your income tax over 5 years including the year of donation.
This is legal agreement that runs on title and enables you to retain ownership of your property while allowing the BTC to secure the Trail. A tax receipt reflecting Fair Market Value of the donated right of way, as determined by a third party appraiser, is issued by the BTC and can be used against your taxable income over for 5 years including the year of donation.
Your Conservation Partner
The Bruce Trail Conservancy can help you strategize long-term options for your Niagara Escarpment property. Together, we can help you conserve your land and carry out your wishes beyond your lifetime. The first step is to discuss your vision. We are pleased to meet with you at your convenience. As a landowner, you are aware that the cost and responsibility of managing land should not be taken lightly. The BTC has proven success in stewarding and caring for conservation lands and has the capacity to do so in perpetuity. We sincerely look forward to discussing the best options for you to create your lasting natural legacy.
The success of the Bruce Trail Conservancy's efforts to preserve a ribbbon of wilderness along the Niagara Escarpment will depend largely on the generosity and participation of landowners like you.