Division of Conservation: Legislation

Conservation Easement Tax Credit Legislation

Colorado's conservation easement tax credit was created in 1999 and has evolved into a significant incentive and important tool for conservation.

  • 2019: HB19-1264 increased the amount of the tax credit to $5 million per donation to be issued in increments of no more than $1.5 million per year, extended the Conservation Easement Oversight Commission and the program certifying easement holders for seven years, until July 1, 2026, and created another working group to recommend legislation or rulemaking. 

  • 2018: HB18-1291 resulted from the 2017 Sunset Review, extended the Conservation Easement Oversight Commission and the program certifying easement holders for one year, moved the program to the newly created Division of Conservation within DORA, and created a working group to recommend legislation or regulations that do not conflict with federal law. 

  • 2015: SB15-206 changed the formula for calculating the amount of the tax credit to 75% of the first $100,000 of donated conservation easement value and 50% of its donated value above $100,000, up to a maximum $1.5 million tax credit per donation.

  • 2013: SB13-221 moved the tax credit program to the Department of Regulatory Agencies' Division of Real Estate from the Department of Revenue, and created the preapproval process for issuance of tax credits associated with conservation easements donated on or after January 1, 2014.

  • 2011: HB11-1300 streamlined the process with the Department of Revenue for disputed tax credits.

  • 2008: HB08-1353 reformed the tax credit process to require an application and the certification of easement holders, and created the Conservation Easement Oversight Commission.

  • 2007: HB07-1361 increased reporting standards for easement holders.

  • 2006: HB06-1354 changed the formula for calculating the tax credit to 50% of the donated value up to $375,000.

  • 2000: HB00-1348 made the tax credit transferable.

  • 1999: HB99-1155 created the non-transferable conservation easement tax credit, limited to $100,000 per donation.

2017 Sunset Review

The Colorado Office of Policy, Research and Regulatory Reform conducted a sunset review of the tax credit program in 2017. The review evaluated the need for the certification of conservation easement holders and the Conservation Easement Oversight Commission, and made recommendations for statutory and administrative changes.

2017 Sunset Review

2016 Performance Audit

The Colorado Office of the State Auditor conducted a performance audit of the tax credit program in 2016. The audit assessed the administration of the program and made recommendations for the application review process, fee setting, and public reporting.

2016 Performance Audit

2012 Performance Audit

The Colorado Office of the State Auditor conducted a performance audit of the tax credit program in 2012. The audit sought to determine whether there were effective controls in place at the Department of Revenue and the Division of Real Estate to ensure that conservation easement tax credits were valid.

2012 Performance Audit


Return to the DCO homepage