Trust for Architectural Easements Barred from Certain Easement Activities

Washington, DC, July 13, 2011: The US District Court for District Of Columbia has enjoined Trust for Architectural Easements from various activities regarding historic preservation easements in a civil suit brought by the Justice Department on behalf of the IRS.

A DOJ press release summarizes the injunction as follows:

“The injunction order bars the defendants from promoting the existence of a 10-to-15-percent valuation range and from accepting donations of easements that the defendants know or have reason to know lack a conservation purpose as defined by federal tax law.   The order also blocks the defendants from participating in the appraisal process for an easement in any regard, other than by referring donors to lists of potential appraisers prepared by neutral third parties. The defendants are enjoined from representing to donors that they can expect an easement to diminish the value of their property in all circumstances or to result automatically in a charitable deduction.   The order also requires the defendants to submit to independent monitoring of their practices for the next two years to ensure compliance with the injunction.”

The Trust for Architectural Easements (TAE), formerly the National Architectural Trust, issued its own press release  in which it characterized the injunction as the result of “a fair and favorable settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice … The settlement satisfactorily concluded a protracted investigation by the DOJ, on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service, and vindicated the Trust and its long-standing practices in the acceptance and enforcement of historic preservation easements.” The TAE press release also excoriates the IRS for “overreaching in its opposition to a decades-old law that supports and encourages historic preservation” and takes DOJ to task for filing “a lengthy, sensational complaint, replete with misstatements and innuendo … apparently designed to impugn the reputation” of TAE.

 

Thanks to Stefan Nagel, Esq., for bringing this news to my attention.

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