In a split decision released on November 30, 2016, the U.S. Tax Court has ruled against Lawrence and Lorna Graev’s latest legal challenge against the IRS. Specifically, the Tax Court held that the Graevs could properly be assessed a 20% penalty for substantial underpayment of tax. This was in connection with the Graevs’ failed attempt to claim a deduction for the façade easement that they had donated to the National Architectural Trust in 2004. The Tax Court had previously denied this charitable deduction in a 2013 decision—the infamous “side letter” case. Continue reading Graev II: Tax Court Upholds 20% Penalty in “Side Letter” Case
Façade easements provide a legal means of preserving the outward appearance of historical buildings. Façade easements, strictly speaking, are a special type of conservation easement. Façade easements, if properly donated, may be eligible for federal tax deductions.
Please read the following posts for more information regarding façade easements. Generally these posts will focus on tax issues.
Failure to Attach Appraisal Fatal to Façade Easement Deduction in Gemperle
On January 4, 2016, the U.S. Tax Court released an opinion denying the tax deduction for the façade easement at issue in Gemperle v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2016-1. This tax deduction was denied mainly because the landowners did not attach the required appraisal to their federal tax return. Let’s take a closer look at this case. Continue reading Failure to Attach Appraisal Fatal to Façade Easement Deduction in Gemperle
First Circuit Decides Kaufman V, Rules Against Landowners in Easement Valuation Dispute
In an opinion dated Friday, April 24, 2015, the First Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against Gordon and Lorna Kaufman in their long-running easement fight with the IRS. In its published opinion (which you can read here), the First Circuit held that the Kaufmans could properly be assessed a 40% penalty for claiming $220,800 in charitable deductions for the donation of a façade easement that was later shown to be valueless. Let’s walk through the Kaufman case together and discover how it might be relevant to those wishing to donate conservation easements in Virginia. Continue reading First Circuit Decides Kaufman V, Rules Against Landowners in Easement Valuation Dispute