Senator Isakson and Senator Perdue raise concern that the IRS will effectively discourage the use of the conversation easement charitable tax deduction – contrary to Congress’ and the President’s direction in passing and enacting the permanency of the provision – given the IRS challenges and time to finality for deductions. In the letter the Senators request a comprehensive review of the IRS’s practice of handling conservation easement tax deduction cases with the goal of ensuring a legitimate deduction claim is not denied, reduced, or unduly delayed.
In response to a number of constituents who experienced antagonistic, lengthy and expensive audits of conservation easement donations, Senator Murphy and Senator Blumenthal wrote a letter to the IRS highlighting the jarring juxtaposition between Congressional intent regarding the deduction for charitable contributions of conservation easements and the Service’s treatment of those who donate easements. In the letter, the Senators implore the Service to explore some way other than the current audit system to find potential abuses in the area of conservation easements.
IRS Audit Guide
Revised on November 4, 2016
Conservation Easement Audit Techniques Guide
IRS Notice 2017-10
Issued on December 23, 2016
Notice 2017-10 alerts taxpayers and their representatives that certain syndicated conservation easement transactions are tax avoidance transactions and identifies these transactions, and substantially similar transactions, as listed transactions.