Gifts & Donations

Mountains Restoration Trust has been entrusted to preserve, protect and enhance the critical lands in the Santa Monica Mountains. Gifts to Mountains Restoration Trust help protect, restore and preserve lands in and surrounding beautiful Santa Monica Mountains.


Five Reasons to Give


1. MRT works to acquire ecologically valuable land to maintain core habitat and wildlife corridors.

2. MRT restores the area creeks and parklands to healthy and sustainable ecosystems.

3. MRT conducts youth programs to promote appreciation and stewardship of the natural world for the present and future generations.

4. MRT provides recreational and educational opportunities for people of all ages to experience and learn about the history, culture and beauty of the Santa Monica Mountains.

5. MRT works in partnership with schools, governmental agencies and other organizations to accomplish shared conservation goals.



Your gift may be tax deductible.


Mountains Restoration Trust is a non-profit, public benefit organization incorporated in the State of California. MRT has been granted 501(c)(3) status by the IRS; making most donations and other gifts deductible for federal income tax purposes.


Below find a summary of tax-saving gift arrangements and ideas you may wish to consider in your financial and estate plans. Your attorney, accountant, and/or financial planner can furnish you with more complete details relevant to your own circumstances.


There are many ways for Mountains Restoration Trust to work with you and your financial planners to develop a program which benefits the preservation of the Santa Monica Mountains and assists you to achieve your goals for your estate. The Trust has the personnel, expertise, and experience to work with your advisors on developing a program of mutual benefit.


Let us hear from you – 818-591-1701 or e-mail us:


GIFT  WITH YOUR DONATION - In support of the work Mountains Restoration Trust, the authors of "Range On The Edge, The Santa Monica Mountains" - Matthew Jaffe and Tom Gamache and the publisher, Angel City Press, are offering this spectacular book to contributors of $250 or more. Experience the wonder and history of the Santa Monica Mountains while helping preserve them for future generations. click here for details


Outright Gifts


Outright cash gifts are the simplest way of gaining tax deductions while supporting Mountains Restoration Trust. However, donations of real estate, securities, closely-held stock, life insurance, or valuables such as art work or coin collections, may be more appropriate to your personal situations.


Real estate donations that meet the Trust’s natural resource value "acquisition criteria" would be protected in a natural state. Other donated real estate, including homes, vacant lots, or commercial and industrial properties, may be sold (with development restrictions, if appropriate), and the proceeds used to further the preservation goals of Mountains Restoration Trust. Gifts to Mountains Restoration Trust of appreciated real estate may entitle you to an income tax deduction equal to its full fair market value, subject to certain limitations.


Donations of Conservation Easements


Potential federal income tax benefits vary with the particulars of each donation.

Essential points to consider are:


* QUALIFIED CONSERVATION ORGANIZATION The easement must be granted to a qualified conservation organization, such as Mountains Restoration Trust or a public agency charged with overseeing land conservation or historic preservation programs.


* CONSERVATION PURPOSES An easement must be granted exclusively for the conservation or preservation of natural habitats, resource lands, historic sites, unique scenic landscapes, wildlife corridors, connections to other preserved parcels, areas of concern for public education or recreation, or open spaces in the vicinity of intense land development. In general, the maximum allowable deductions arise from conservation easements placed over large tracts of open space in areas where development pressures are intense.


* PERMANENCE The easement must be granted in perpetuity.


* AMOUNT OF DEDUCTION The amount a property owner can deduct for a donated easement generally equals the reduction in the property’s value due to the easement (the difference between the property’s independently appraised value before the easement is granted and after the easement’s restrictions take effect).


* APPRAISALS The appraisal that determines the easement value must meet strict federal substantiation requirements as specified in federal tax law regarding conservation easements.


Limits on Deductions


Taxpayers cannot eliminate all of their taxable income by making charitable donations, no matter how large the donation. In general, the deduction for charitable donations of appreciated property cannot exceed 30 percent of the taxpayer's adjusted gross income, although any excess amount may be carried forward and deducted over the five succeeding years.


Estate Taxes


Many heirs to large historic estates and to large tracts of open space – farms, ranches, and timberland in particular – face substantial estate taxes. Even if heirs wish to keep inherited property in its undeveloped condition, the federal estate tax is levied not on the current use value of the property, but on its "highest and best use." The resulting estate tax can be so high that the heirs must quickly sell the property to pay the taxes. A conservation easement can reduce estate taxes because the donation of the easement reduces the value of the property. This easement can be devised (donated as part of a will), and then deducted from the taxable estate. The gift of a qualified easement must be included within the donor’s will and cannot be modified after death.


Local Real Property Taxes


Local real property tax assessments are based on a property’s fair market value, which considers the property’s development potential. If a conservation easement reduces the development potential of the property and limits its use, then the level of assessment and, accordingly, the amount of real property taxes, may be reduced. Tax laws change. You should consult your lawyer or tax planner for further details. Professional financial counsel is essential because each donor’s tax situation is unique.


Portions of the above information were excerpted from The Conservation Easement Handbook: Managing Land Conservation and Historic Preservation Easement Programs by Janet Diehl and Thomas S. Barrett. Another outstanding reference is Preserving Family Lands: A Landowner’s Introduction to Tax Issues and Other Considerations by Stephen J. Small. Information on how to obtain these books is available from the Mountains Restoration Trust.


Mountains Restoration Trust wishes to acknowledge the Jefferson Land Trust of Port Townsend, Washington, for their assistance in preparing this information.



Tax Credits for Land Conservation - A Users Guide, September, 2000 - pdf - click here









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