RICHMOND, VA- Delegate J. Randall Minchew (R-10) and Delegate Michael J. Webert (R-18), have jointly introduced legislation to promote greater use of land conservation and open space easements by reducing the business uncertainty associated with land conservation tax credits.
The bill, HB 908, Delegates Minchew and Webert offered provides that a charitable open space easement donor would be afforded the option to apply to the Department of Taxation for land preservation tax credits prior to making any irrevocable grant of an open space easement as of January 1, 2013. Under this proposed new law, the Virginia Tax Commissioner would, upon application by a landowner, be required to provide prospective donors with a determination letter that will conditionally allow the land preservation tax credits in whole or in part, or deny the application for tax credits within 120 days of a complete application.
In explaining the rationale behind their bill, Delegates Minchew and Webert explained, “We both have the great honor of representing some of the most scenic and historic land in the Commonwealth, the Virginia Piedmont. We have a thriving rural economy, outstanding wineries, a world-class equestrian community, and Civil War heritage areas that exist in beautiful and awe-inspiring settings. We believe that this bill and land conservation tax credits are crucial to the preservation of these critical areas, and we support Governor McDonnell’s worthy goal of preserving 400,000 acres of Virginia land for future generations by 2014. Hopefully many acres will be preserved in our two Piedmont districts. By adding additional certainty to the land conservation tax credit process, we believe that we will see a greater use of conservation and open space easements.”
Delegate J. Randall Minchew currently represents Loudoun, Clarke, and Frederick Counties, while Delegate Michael J. Webert represents Fauquier, Rappahannock, Warren, and Culpeper Counties. Both are serving their first term in the House of Delegates.