On August 23, 2018, the IRS released new proposed tax regulations that penalize Virginia conservation easement donors for receiving the land preservation tax credit. This new rule significantly reduces the tax benefits that Virginia landowners will receive for donating a conservation easement. Continue reading Proposed SALT Regulation Reduces Conservation Easement Tax Deductions
Conservation easements are voluntary agreements that seek to protect and preserve open-space land, the habitat of wildlife, and unique geographical features. Most commonly, these agreements are permanent, and they limit specific uses or prevent certain types of development from taking place on the property in perpetuity. Conservation easements that are conveyed to a Virginia state agency, such as the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF), the Virginia Department of Forestry, or (less commonly) the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, are technically called “open-space easements.”
Conservation easements that are properly donated can give rise to federal tax deductions and Virginia land preservation tax credits.
For more information about conservation easements, read the following posts! You might also wish to visit the conservation easement page on our sister site for Hawthorne & Hawthorne, P.C.
Clower: IRS Investigation Into Abusive Appraisals May Proceed
Earlier today, December 22, 2016, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the IRS may proceed in its investigation into allegedly overvalued conservation easement appraisals prepared by a Georgia appraiser. Specifically, the appraiser will be required to provide the IRS with his client lists and other information from his files. Continue reading Clower: IRS Investigation Into Abusive Appraisals May Proceed
Seek and Ye Shall Find: An Update on the Virginia Treasures Initiative
I write today to provide an update on the Virginia Treasures initiative: On Thursday, December 15, 2016, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced in a press release that his goal of preserving 1,000 “Virginia Treasures” had been reached a full year ahead of schedule. This announcement has received limited press so far—I’ve only seen stories from WTKR (Channel 3 in Norfolk) and the Augusta Free Press, and these stories mostly just regurgitate the press release. Let’s take a closer look. Continue reading Seek and Ye Shall Find: An Update on the Virginia Treasures Initiative
No Land Preservation Tax Credit for Virginia Localities
On November 24, 2015, the Virginia Department of Taxation released a ruling (P.D. 15-215) holding that Virginia localities are not eligible to claim the land preservation tax credit (LPTC). The term “locality” includes counties, cities, and towns, as defined in Va. Code § 15.2-102. Let’s take a closer look at this ruling. Continue reading No Land Preservation Tax Credit for Virginia Localities
Supreme Court of Virginia Applies Strict Interpretation to Conservation Easements in White Cloud
In a monumental ruling that is sure to send shock waves through the land conservation community, the Supreme Court of Virginia has concluded that ambiguous wording in conservation easements must be interpreted in favor of the free use of land and against limiting development on the easement property. The case in question is Wetlands America Trust, Inc. v. White Cloud Nine Ventures, L.P., 2016 Va. LEXIS 12, which you can read here. Let’s go through this important case step by step. Continue reading Supreme Court of Virginia Applies Strict Interpretation to Conservation Easements in White Cloud