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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Conservation Tax Credit Certification - Reviewer Guidelines

Conservation Tax Credit Certification

Reviewer Guidelines for
Conservation Tax Credit Certification

The General Statutes (G.S. 105-130.34 and G.S. 105-151.12) require that the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) must certify that the donated property is suitable for one or more of the valid public conservation benefits and the interest in property must be donated in perpetuity to and accepted in perpetuity by the State, a local government, or a body that is both organized to receive and administer lands for conservation purposes and qualified to receive charitable contributions.

For the public's convenience, we provide certain guideline or template documents as follows.  However, there is no absolute requirement that these documents be used.  Each application will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis under the criteria of NC General Statutes §105-130.34 and §105-151.12. 

Donations must serve a public benefit that is useful for:

  1. Public beach access or use,
  2. Public access to public waters or trails,
  3. Fish and wildlife conservation,
  4. Forestland or farmland conservation,
  5. Watershed protection,
  6. Conservation of natural areas as that term is defined in G.S. 113A-164.3(3),
  7. Conservation of natural or scenic river areas as those terms are used in G.S. 113A-34,
  8. Conservation of predominantly natural parkland, or
  9. Historic landscape conservation

NOTE: Reviewer guidelines for evaluating specific public conservation benefits are provided here.

The process used for reviewing conservation tax credit applications:

  1. Application for certification received.
  2. Copies of the application are distributed to the appropriate resource agency reviewer, based on primary conservation purpose, as either noted by the applicant or stated in the instrument of transfer. In addition, one copy goes to the state Attorney General's office.
  3. If a reviewer determines that a property does not qualify for certification under the public benefit identified in step 2, the applicant will be notified in writing.  The applicant may then request reconsideration of the project.
  4. If reconsideration is requested, the Assistant Secretary will reconsider, among other things, the application in light of the full range of public benefits in G.S. 105-1151.12 and G.S. 105-130.34 and any new information provided by the applicant.

To determine if the donation will receive certification, DENR reviews applications with two questions in mind:

  1. Does the donation provide one or more of the public benefits listed above?
  2. Does the instrument of transfer adequately protect/conserve public benefit(s)? 
Please Note:

In reviewing a conservation easement, the reviewer will consider potential cumulative impact as if all rights reserved in the donation instrument are exercised fully. Fee simple instruments will be examined to see if the deed specifies the conservation purpose of the transaction.

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