Golf course owners who take advantage of conservation easements will continue to benefit from the new GOP tax plan if current language is retained in the final proposal. However, given President Trump’s ownership stake in golf businesses, this provision is under some scrutiny. The president has claimed the deduction at Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey, and Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida.
Currently, golf course owners can agree to restrict development on its property — creating a conservation easement — and donate that conservation easement to either a land trust or local government while continuing to own the land.
The property owner then gets two appraisals: one for the value of the property if it was sold with the conservation easement in-tact, and one if the property was sold without any restrictions. The difference in those appraisals can be deducted from the owner’s income.
The Obama administration targeted the cuts and estimated that ending the deduction would produce $600 million in additional tax revenue over 10 years. Tax policy analysts say ending the deduction would not be significant enough to compensate for trillions of dollars lost from other tax breaks in the GOP plan over the next 10 years, but it could be a political football as House and Senate versions are reconciled and negotiated between the two political parties.