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

Tax Court Denies Deductions for Golf Course Conservation Easements in Atkinson

In a lengthy written opinion released on December 9, 2015 under the name Atkinson v. Commissioner, the U.S. Tax Court denied the federal tax deductions claimed for two conservation easements donated on an operating golf course in coastal North Carolina. Specifically, the Tax Court denied these tax deductions on the grounds that the two easements did not have a legitimate conservation purpose. Let’s take a closer look at why these two golf course conservation easements failed to qualify for special tax treatment. Continue reading Tax Court Denies Deductions for Golf Course Conservation Easements in Atkinson