IRS Warning On Deductions For Conservation Easements
The IRS has announced it is "that it is cracking down on improper tax deductions taken by people who give real estate and cash to environmental groups, warning that taxpayers could face penalties and charities could lose their tax-exempt status."
While the practice of conservation easements doubtless has been subjected to some abuse, the effect of the IRS announcement may have a generally chilling effect on this important tool of agricultural and open protection and historic preservation.
The IRS says "Easements that serve no conservation purpose and create no significant public benefit do not qualify for tax deductions." The question is how is the conservation purpose and "significant public benefit" determined? The devil may be in the details.
Thanks to Shirley Loveless