North Dakota State Law Limiting Conservation Easements to 99 Years Prevents Tax Deduction


A conservation easement in North Dakota was disqualified for a charitable contribution deduction because the state’s law limits easements to a maximum duration of 99 years, regardless of whether the parties agree otherwise.  The IRS determined, and the Tax Court agreed, that the 99-year limit kept the easement from protecting its conservation purposes “in perpetuity,”Read More

Continued War of Attrition on Façade Easements


In what appears to be the latest volley by the IRS in its relentless attack on the use of façade easements, the IRS issued IR 2014-31, which is a news release that announces that the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) has reached a “settlement” with a group of appraisers accused of participating (called aidingRead More

Giving to a Qualified Organization is a key to Conservation Easement Deduction


Readers know that Sirote & Permutt is frequently hired to defend IRS challenges to deductions claimed by taxpayers relating to qualified conservation contributions (otherwise called conservation easements).  The basics under Code Section 170(h) provide that a “qualified conservation contribution” is a taxpayer’s contribution of a qualified real property interest, to a qualified organization, exclusively for conservation purposes. AsRead More

Conservation easement confusion in the Tax Court and the Fifth Circuit

We are excited to announce the publication of our most recent article regarding conservation easements.  It is entitled:  “Conservation Easement Confusion in the Tax Court and the Fifth Circuit”, and can be found in the Preview of the September/October 2013 issue of Taxation of Exempts.  Our article analyzes the trilogy of decisions in the Tax CourtRead More

Another Tax Court approach to establish highest and best use

Conservation easement

This blog often reports on conservation easement cases that involve a taxpayer’s attempt to satisfy the technical requirements of Code Section 170(h) and the myriad of issues that have to be addressed in a conservation easement implementation and the documentation of same.   Some conservation easement cases focus on whether a conservation easement protects and preservesRead More

Preserving wildlife and open space: Conservation Easements


Conservation easements are one of the most powerful, effective tools available for the permanent conservation of private lands in the United States. The use of conservation easements has successfully protected millions of acres of wildlife habitat and open space, keeping land in private hands and generating significant public and individual benefits. The following monograph providesRead More

Value Based on “Second Best Use” – A new game-changing standard, or an outlier?

Gregory Rhodes

The Tax Court (Judge Halpern) recently issued a third opinion in the ongoing conservation easement litigation between Whitehouse Hotel Ltd. (“Whitehouse”) and the IRS. The Whitehouse trilogy of opinions have been heavily-scrutinized and studied by the easement community because they provide unique perspective on the divergence between the manner in which the Tax Court andRead More