At the Islands Trust Conservancy, we believe entire communities benefit from private land conservation. But with land values in the islands among the highest in Canada, high property taxes can force landowners to make a difficult choice between protecting the natural features they love and developing their property to generate much needed income.
We believe there should be an incentive to encourage landowners to choose to protect their land and provide their island communities with the benefits of increased natural area. The Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program (NAPTEP) provides landowners with an annual 65% exemption on the property taxes for the portion of their property protected with a NAPTEP covenant.
How NAPTEP works
To qualify for NAPTEP, you must own land in the Islands Trust Area, with eligible natural features, and be willing to protect that land with a conservation covenant.
Eligible natural features
To qualify for NAPTEP, you need one (or more) of the eligible features on your property:
- Relatively undisturbed sensitive ecosystems
- Habitat for rare native plant species or plant communities
- Habitat critical to native animal species' breeding, rearing, feeding or staging
- Special geological features
Protection with a conservation covenant
A conservation covenant is a formal commitment you can make to protect the natural features on your property. With a conservation covenant, you still own your land, can live on the property, and sell it whenever you want. The covenant binds future owners to the same promises you made, meaning the landscape you've loved and cared for remains protected forever. Read more about conservation covenants. Learn more about how you can register a conservation covenant on your land.
Benefit to you
Placing a covenant on your land for conservation first and foremost gives you the peace of mind knowing the land you care for will be safe forever, regardless of who eventually owns your property. The Islands Trust Conservancy continues to monitor its conservation covenants annually, at no cost to the landowners. The land you love will never be lost to development.
By registering a covenant through NAPTEP, you receive an annual property tax exemption of 65% on the protected portion of the land. This means you save money annually in exchange for leaving the natural features on your land alone for native species to enjoy. These tax savings can add up quickly, depending on the size of the land you're able to protect. The Islands Trust Conservancy has created a guide to calculating NAPTEP benefits and costs [PDF] to help you determine how NAPTEP could be financially beneficial for you.
North & South Pender Landowners: The Morrison Waxler Biodiversity Protection Legacy Fund offers grants to North & South Pender landowners to cover some of the costs involved with registering a conservation covenant or NAPTEP covenant. Contact us to learn more or to apply for this grant.
Other Important Information
There may be income tax benefits associated with placing a NAPTEP covenant on your land, that could help offset your costs, depending on your particular circumstances. The Ecological Gifts Program provides donors of eligible conservation covenants with a tax credit for your donation that can be applied to your income and can offset Capital Gains taxes. Those contemplating conservation covenants should consult tax and financial advisors. If you intend to apply to the Ecological Gifts Program, please let us know.
Related Legislation & Policy
Talk to us
You may have several questions about NAPTEP and how a conservation covenant would impact how you use your property. We'd love to talk to you about your vision for conservation and to discuss options that meet that vision and your financial goals.
Ecosystems Protection Specialist, Islands Trust Conservancy
We recommend anyone contemplating a conservation covenant also talk with independent financial and legal advisors. If your advisor is not familiar with covenants, we would be happy to provide additional information.