South Carolina Conservation Credit Exchange
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Financial Advisors

Tell your clients about tax savings that make a difference in people's lives. Show them how to:

  • Save this year and every year on their state income tax
  • Direct their tax dollars to conservation

South Carolina Conservation tax credits have been around since 2001, but until now, there has not been an efficient market to connect sellers and buyers. The Exchange provides the expertise and service to make the buying of credits manageable and profitable for your clients.

Potential buyers fill out the forms listed under “Buyers”. We notify them when we have found a qualified seller, and they pay for the credits when we receive authorization for the transfer from the SC Department of Revenue. An Exchange transaction fee is deducted from the seller’s payment, the buyer is responsible only for the price offered the seller.

Buyers claim the tax credit on Form SC 1040TC and Form TC-19.

Federal Guidance on income tax treatment of state tax credits for buyers:*

IRS Memorandum 200126005 states the taxs credits are deductible as state income tax paid on buyer's federal return.  See CCM 201147024 which suggests credit buyers recognize gain on the difference between the purchase price and face value of the tax credits when claimed.


Federal Guidance on income tax treatment of sale of tax credits by original owner:*


       A recent tax court ruling in 2011 determined the sale of conservation credits generates

       capital gain income.  The cost basis is zero and the holding period begins on the day

       the credits were earned by making the conservation gift.   See 136 TC 15.


*The Exchange does not offer tax advice, these resources have been excerpted from

A Tax Guide to Conservation Easements, by C. Timothy Lindstrom, 2008 Island Press,

which addresses the federal, not state specific treatment of transferable credits.

As a reminder, Chief Counsel Attorney Memorandums and Chief Counsel Advisories are

not to be used or cited as precedent.  All credit sellers and buyers should consult with their personal tax advisors.

  SC Encourages and Rewards Landowners for Stewardship
Under the Conservation Incentives Act (Act 283) passed by the South Carolina Legislature in 2001, the Palmetto State joined ten other states with special incentives designed to encourage private landowners who donate qualified land or conservation easements. The most important provision was the addition of conservation tax credits that "may be transferred, devised, or distributed, with or without consideration" to other South Carolina taxpayers.

Key Provisions of the Conservation Incentives Act
The law allows a taxpayer who is entitled to and claims a federal charitable deduction for a gift of land for conservation or for a qualified conservation contribution (conservation easement) donated after May 31, 2001, to claim an income tax credit equal to 25% of the deduction attributable to the gift. The credit cannot exceed $250 per acre of covered property and the total credit used by a taxpayer may not exceed $52,500 per year.


More on Easements...

Conservation Easements in Private Practice

An overview of Conservation Easements to help practitioners incorporate conservation

tools for clients by Shea B. Airey, attorney, Seneca SC

The South Carolina Conservation Incentives Act
Use the following link to view the Conservation Incentives Act as implemented in the South Carolina Code of Law. When the document opens view Section 12-6-3515:

The SC Conservation Easement Handbook
For a comprehensive review of conservation easements see the SC Department of Revenue handbook on conservation easements via the following link:

More About Conservation Easements and Land Trusts
The Land Trust Alliance is an umbrella organization that “promotes voluntary conservation and strengthens the land trust movement by providing leadership, information, skills and resources land trusts need to conserve land for the benefit of communities and natural systems.” Their website offers a wide range of background information and further reading on easements:

A Tax Guide to Conservation Easements

Lindstrom, C. Timothy, 2008 Island Press

Preserving Family Lands

Steve Small

List of South Carolina Land Trusts
South Carolina Land Trusts

The South Carolina Conservation Credit Exchange connects buyers and sellers of conservation credits and does not offer tax advice. Buyers and sellers must rely on their own tax advisors to advise them as to the technical aspects of the sale, purchase and use of credits.

Frequently Asked Questions Contact Us Home
"A land conservation gift in SC yields two significant income tax benefits, an income tax deduction and an income tax credit. Since the credit is transferable, a donor who does not have income taxable in SC, such as a nonresident, may sell the credit and realize a benefit in that way."

~ Cary Hall, Attorney, Wyche Burgess Freeman & Parham, PA, Greenville SC



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