Land Stewardship > Tax Considerations
Research and consider the tax issues which may result from owning land in Texas. These issues may pertain to the product being produced on the land, the intended purpose of the land, or simply because it is land. Property taxes and estate taxes are two important considerations.
Property taxes paid to the state, county or other entity can affect your ability to manage your land as you choose. These expenses should be at the forefront in planning whether you are thinking of buying property or planning next year's management activities. Information can be found on the State of Texas Property Tax Assistance website.
Property taxes can sometimes be decreased by having a agricultural valuation or a wildlife valuation. Eligibility requirements can be found on the website above. Although, just because you can meet the qualifications doesn't mean that you should. Land is often degraded when managed simply to receive a lower tax valuation. Please consider your original purpose for the land before managing in a new or unknown way.
More information regarding the wildlife tax valuation can be found on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website.
Estate taxes paid by those who inherit land are expected to fluctuate greatly over the next few years. These taxes should be considered when doing any kind of estate planning as they may affect your heir's ability to keep the land as you intend it. The federal government collects estate taxes and information can be found at the IRS Estate and Gift Taxes website.
Land Trusts and Conservation Easements
Land trusts work with private landowners to create conservation easements that conserve or preserve the land into the future. While the landowner can retain ownership of the land, he or she voluntarily and permanently restricts certain uses such as land conversion. Several tax benefits can be associated with conservation easements: income tax deduction, reduced estate taxes, and possibly lower real estate taxes. The amount and type of tax benefits depends on a variety of factors, so contacting tax professionals and land trust experts is important before making a decision on your land. To learn more about the tax implications of conservation easements, and to find a land trust near you, visit the Texas Land Trust Council website.