In Maryland productive agricultural and forested lands receive a 'preferential tax assessment' meaning that the land is taxed, by state law, based on its use rather than its value as residential land. Local tax incentives that reduce county property taxes on protected land also reduce the costs to resource-based industries. This often helps to encourage the sale or donation of conservation easements.
Conversely, Maryland 'recaptures' some of the preferential assessment by imposing an Agricultural Transfer Tax on agricultural land that is taken out of production, presumably for development. Those monies are shared with the counties and are used to fund the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Program (MALPF).
In addition to the preferential tax assessment local taxing authorities can provide tax credits to landowners who permanently or temporarily protect their land. It can include tax relief for both residential and agricultural improvements, or just for the undeveloped portions of property subject to an easement. Some counties have provided a cap on the maximum amount of credit to be given in order to prevent abuse of the program, or to limit loss of taxes to the local government. Anne Arundel, Harford, Howard and Montgomery counties have the most generous tax credits in Maryland.