Thursday, March 31, 2005

Tax Tips for the Bay

Tax time, April 15th, is nearly upon us, and as I was recently finishing up my State and Federal taxes, I noticed something I hadn't seen before. Maryland offers (and has since 2002) an income tax credit for citizens who purchase and place aquaculture oyster floats in waters near their homes for personal, noncommercial use. The credit allows purchasers to claim 100 percent of the cost of aquaculture floats up to $500. That basically means that waterfront homeowners or community associations could be helping to restore the oyster population at no cost to themselves. Oyster floats can be ordered from the Circle-C Oyster Ranch in Ridge, MD (St. Mary's County).

Also on the Maryland Tax form is the opportunity to contribute to the Chesapeake Bay and Endangered Species Fund (Line 37). The monies collected through the Fund are split evenly between the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Maryland Department of Resources Wildlife & Heritage Division. In the past, funds collected through the tax check-off have helped put millions of oysters in the Bay, assisted in the planting of shoreline grasses, and provided educational opportunities about the Bay for school children. It's a great way to give a targeted gift to Bay restoration and its tax deductible.

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