A wildlife sanctuary is a place where various animal species, some deemed endangered, are taken care of. Whether you want to create awareness about animals or keep them for tourism purposes, you can transform your own property into a backyard sanctuary and enjoy tax benefits. Both federal and state governments support this activity by giving such landowners tax incentives depending on their location, the kind of animals they hold and their impact to society at large.
Purpose of a Wildlife Sanctuary
The natural habitat of indigenous plants and some animals has been threatened by active human use such as recreation, food and medicine as well as passive use including hiking, photography, bird watching and pleasure sports. Wildlife sanctuaries safeguard these plants and animals by sustaining breeding and supporting their other activities such as migration and wintering population. Smaller animals like insects also have their habitats in these sanctuaries.
Private Landowner Assistance Program
The Private Landowner Assistance Program is offered by various state governments to enable landowners who are interested in maintaining and protecting wildlife to develop their property. The program offers best practices in land stewardship for individuals as well as technical assistance in planning how best to accommodate the species on the land while preserving their natural habitat. In some states, the program includes incentives such as financially assisting landowners through loan programs so that they can restore and and protect endangered species. Areas in greatest need of protection are given preference.
Tax Benefits and Implications
Having your property turned into a wildlife sanctuary for the rescue, rehabilitation and preservation of animals can grant you tax exemptions. For tax purposes, you are considered nonprofit and therefore are not required to pay property tax. In addition, tax on capital gains can be avoided should you decide to sell the property. The implication of being tax exempt is that you may not operate or use any of the earnings accruing from the sanctuary to benefit private parties. This basically prohibits transactions that potentially bring economic benefit to unqualified individuals.
Owner Benefits and Requirements
Apart from valuable estate tax deductions, you can maintain a stable revenue that is exempted from income tax using your idle land as a wildlife sanctuary. As a landowner, you will only qualify for wildlife sanctuary tax benefits if you have used the particular land, within a specific period, for at least three of the following functions: providing supplemental water, habitat control, predator control, providing shelter, making census counts to determine population and providing supplemental food.
- Anup Shah/Digital Vision/Getty Images