For almost 40 years, the conservation easement incentive of Section 170(h) of the Internal Revenue Code has helped preserve millions of acres of important land and ensured that our government alone does not shoulder the responsibility for land conservation.
In December of 2015, with the passage of the enhanced conservation easement incentive, Congress affirmed that Section 170(h) is a vital component of our tax code. Today, Section 170(h) is achieving its intended goal of encouraging private landowners to voluntarily choose permanent conservation over development, thereby saving important lands that provide our communities with green and open space, and protect their biodiversity.
Partnership for Conservation (P4C) believes there should be further protections implemented to identify and prevent abusive conservation easement donations. The IRS’s solution — IRS Notice 2017-10 — is inefficient and burdensome. To meet the enforcement needs stated by the IRS in the Notice, and ensure the public priority of encouraging voluntary, private land conservation is met, P4C has identified legislative proposals to further safeguard Section 170(h).
Enhance the definition of “qualified appraisal” to produce more accurate and well-substantiated valuations.
Bolster the educational requirements to be a “qualified appraiser” in order to ensure appraisers have sufficient training and expertise.
Produce greater visibility and transparency of conservation easement donations.