Partnership for Conservation (P4C) Commends Treasury Secretary’s Commitment on Long Overdue Conservation Easement Guidance

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jon Conradi
[email protected]

Washington, D.C. – Partnership for Conservation (P4C) President Robert Ramsay issued a statement Monday applauding U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen for committing to seeing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issue sample conservation deed language, in a response to questions for the record from Senator Rob Portman (R-OH).

“Partnership for Conservation applauds Secretary Yellen for her commitment to getting taxpayers the long overdue conservation easement guidance needed to make compliance simple and avoid unnecessary and costly litigation,” Ramsay said. “After more than 40 years of waiting, it is long past time for IRS to adopt the repeated recommendation of the National Taxpayer Advocate and issue conservation easement deed language that will clarify the rules of the road — helping keep more well-intentioned conservationists out of tax court due to alleged technical foot faults.”

“The issuance of clear and easy to understand conservation easement guidance is a critical solution to preserving and strengthening Americans’ access to participate in market-based conservation incentives that serve the public good,” Ramsay continued. “We are glad to see bipartisan consensus that sample deed language must be issued for the benefit of taxpayers, the government and overall conservation efforts.”

In U.S. Senate Committee on Finance questions for the record, Senator Portman asked Secretary Yellen: “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.”

In responses sent on January 21, Secretary Yellen answered: “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.”

The National Taxpayer Advocate, in the office’s 2020 Annual Report to Congress (Page 219), agreed with the urgent need for sample deed language, saying: “The National Taxpayer Advocate recommends that the IRS: 1. Develop and publish additional guidance that contains sample easement provisions to assist taxpayers in drafting deeds that satisfy the statutory requirements for qualifi­ed conservation contributions, particularly the perpetuity requirement for those conservation easements that incentivize land preservation for future generations.”

The National Taxpayer Advocate made a similar recommendation in the office’s 2019 Annual Report to Congress (Page 203), recommending that the IRS: “Develop and publish guidance to provide safe harbors and/or sample easement provisions to provide taxpayers with examples of how they may construct a conservation easement deed that satisfies the statutory requirements and prevent unnecessary litigation.”

Read P4C’s public comments for the IRS in June 2020 outlining the urgency for sample conservation easement deed language and key considerations HERE.

P4C is a diverse, national coalition of stakeholders working to ensure the long-term availability and integrity of conservation easement donations. Our members include individuals, private companies, land trusts, sportsmen’s organizations, and conservation groups with the shared mission of expanding conservation support for a cleaner, healthier environment.

Read more on P4C’s legislative solutions to strengthen the integrity of conservation easements, while maintaining all Americans’ access to participate, HERE.


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The time for change is now. Preserving our planet for future generations is as important as ever.

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