On February 25, 2022, the Colorado Division of Conservation announced that the 2021 conservation easement tax credit annual cap of $45 million has been reached for the first time since the cap was established in 2014. The Division Director Aaron Welch stated: “The Colorado Division of Conservation is encouraged at the increased pace of private land conservation at a time when development pressure has never been higher. The investments made by the conservation easement tax credit preserve recreation areas, wildlife habitat, agricultural working landscapes, scenic vistas, and historic areas. The work of the Division ensures that these conservation values are preserved in perpetuity. The reservation of the full $45 million for 2021 has been years in the making and is a testament to the high level of confidence in the regulatory framework by program participants and the Division’s commitment to consumer protection.”
Although the 2021 annual cap has been reached, the 2022 annual cap still has $15 million available specifically for 2021 transactions (See C.R.S. § 39-22-522(2.5)). Landowners donating conservation easements in 2021 can still apply for tax credits, and their applications will be considered in the order they are received. But these additional applications will receive 2022 tax credits which can be claimed to pay 2022 Colorado income tax. The Division of Conservation keeps a running tally on the status of the tax credit cap on its website.