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Coalition Letter: Tax Administration Must Be Clear and Fair For Conservation Easements

National Taxpayers Union
Pete Sepp
March 10, 2021

Dear Secretary Yellen:

On behalf of the undersigned organizations, which advocate for millions of taxpayers across America, we write first to offer our congratulations and best wishes to you as the new Secretary of the United States Treasury. It is our hope that in days to come, we will build constructive working relationships on many matters, even as we may respectfully offer differing views on certain tax and fiscal policies.

Among those matters where we may find common ground is our abiding, mutual concern for a well-functioning, balanced system of tax administration. We were therefore encouraged by several of your thoughtful responses during your confirmation process regarding improvements to how tax laws are implemented, beyond what those laws may stipulate. One of your replies to a Question for the Record from Senator Portman on Section 170(h) deductions (pertaining to conservation easements) was particularly encouraging to us:

Question: …Will you commit to working with the IRS to publish sample deed language so that taxpayers can have certainty when making donations, helping to further this important policy goal? Once we have this guidance, I think it is important that we provide an opportunity for taxpayers to come into compliance with the new rules.

Answer: Taxpayer certainty with regard to tax treatment in all issues is an important goal for the system at large. If confirmed, I will strive to meet that goal through the issuance of taxpayer guidance, and I appreciate the importance of creating certainty for taxpayers on this issue.1

Secretary Yellen, we could not agree more with your assessment, and we urge you to take timely steps that provide a framework within which the IRS may develop such guidance.

Click here to read the letter in full.


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