A generous deduction that has enabled wealthy investors to save millions was left untouched by Washington lawmakers in the recently enacted tax overhaul.
But that doesn't mean you won't run afoul of the Internal Revenue Service if you use it.
They're known as conservation easements. Basically, these are legal agreements that permanently limit the use of designated land for preservation purposes. The owner continues to control the property, while a limited-time tax deduction is generated based on the value of the land had it been developed. Generally, the limits on the land continue, even it is passed on to heirs or sold.
High-profile deals involving notable figures including President Donald Trump have brought attention to these types of structures.
Trump, for example, created a preservation easement on his Mar-a-Lago estate in 1993. The property was reportedly appraised at $25 million at that time. An easement that prevented him from selling antiques inside the historic building or adding more buildings to the compound reduced the valuation to $19.25 million. Trump was able to take a tax deduction for the difference — $5.75 million — once the easement was established.
The president has reportedly generated more than $100 million in write offs through easement deals, including a $39 million deduction on his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf course.