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
Federal Tax Deductions
Donations of conservation easements typically qualify as a special type of charitable contribution, giving rise to federal tax deductions. For more information, read the posts below. In particular, be sure to read my seminal post, “Enhanced Conservation Easement Tax Incentive Reinstated, Made Permanent,” for more information on the special tax treatment afforded to donations of conservation easements.
Note that special tax treatment of donations of conservation easements also exists at the state level in the form of the Virginia land preservation tax credit.
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
Graev II: Tax Court Upholds 20% Penalty in “Side Letter” Case
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
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
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