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

Enhanced Conservation Easement Tax Incentive Reinstated, Made Permanent

After more than eleven months of limbo, the enhanced conservation easement tax incentive was reinstated and made permanent as part of the Congressional budget deal on December 18, 2015. This federal tax incentive provides preferential treatment to donations of conservation easements that ordinary charitable donations do not receive. Let’s take a closer look at the history of the enhanced tax incentive and how the enhanced tax incentive benefits donors of conservation easements. Continue reading Enhanced Conservation Easement Tax Incentive Reinstated, Made Permanent