US Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2015-130, July 14, 2015: Conservation easement deduction denied; inadequate baseline documentation; Belk violation.
Citing the precedent of the Belk II tax court memo, as affirmed by the Fourth Circuit decision in Belk III, the court denied any tax deduction for twin conservation easements that allowed for the alteration of boundaries between unrestricted [...]
Supreme Court of Virginia, Record No. 141480,June 4, 2015: Accusation of conservation easement violation is not defamation in Virginia.
At issue was whether public accusations that a party violated a conservation easement is defamation in Virginia. The Plaintiffs, 3 Dog Farm, LC, and Happy Tails sought a special use permit to operate a boarding kennel of more [...]
Court of Appeals of Minnesota, Nos. A14-0464, 14-0481, A14-1224, A14-1225, April 6, 2015: Bible camp’s development not prohibited by conservation easement.
Two groups of realtors oppose Living Word Bible Camp’s (LWBC) plan to build a youth bible camp on a property of 283 acres, of which 84 acres is subject to a conservation easement owned by the [...]
Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2015-63, April 2, 2015: Tax due on partnership’s easement tax credit allocation as disguised sale.
The prime issue in this case was how the IRS should treat a limited partnership transaction involving Virginia tax credits for the donation of a conservation easement, and the valuation for federal tax purposes of that donation. Also [...]
Court of Appeals of Colorado, Div. 1, No. 13CA2204, February 26, 2015: Land Trust keeps conservation easement despite error naming grantor.
The Land Trust accepted and recorded a deed of conservation easement (“Conservation Deed”) from one Craig J. Walker, an individual who, as it turned out, had overlooked that he had previously granted and recorded a deed [...]
Idaho Supreme Court, No. 41663, 2015 Opinion No. 1, January 9, 2015: Statute of limitations on malpractice claim for lawyer’s failure to seek mortgage subordination before recording conservation easement runs from when IRS raised issue.
The Minnicks engaged the law firm Hawley Troxell as counsel for a real estate project. As part of the project the Minnicks [...]
US Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit, No. 13-9003, January 6, 2015: No deduction for conservation easement without mortgage subordination at time of grant.
This decision affirms the US Tax Court decision in Mitchell v. Commissioner, 138 T.C. 324 (2012) (Mitchell I) (of which the Tax Court rejected reconsideration in Mitchell II, T.C. Memo. 2013-204, August 29, 2013), [...]
US Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, No. 13-2161, December 16, 2014: Allowing property swap disqualifies conservation easement deduction.
The court upheld the Tax Court ruling in Belk v. Commissioner, 140 T.C. No. 1 (2013) (Belk I), that a conservation easement that allows the parties to change which property is subject to the easement does not qualify for [...]
Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, No. 1031, September Term, 2013, December 2, 2014: Conservation easement enforceable, civil penalty for violation valid.
The case concerns the validity and enforceability of a forest conservation easement (“FCE”) on a subdivision lot purchased by Appellant McClure and the authority of a County board to issue a corrective order and impose [...]
Colorado Court of Appeals, 3rd Div., No. 13CA1656, October 23, 2014: Colorado’s 4-year limitation on challenging a claimed conservation easement tax credit runs from when the credit is first claimed.
Colorado taxpayers may claim a state income tax credit, which may be carried forward for up to twenty years, for donating a qualifying conservation easement to a [...]
US Bankruptcy Court, ED California Fresno Div., No. 13-16634-13-13, August 27, 2014: Conservation easement may not diminish market value of debtor’s residence in bankruptcy.
In this bankruptcy matter, the Debtor, Dekoning, sought to have the court accept a fair market value of his residence low enough so a mortgage holder would be deemed an unsecured creditor. The [...]
IN THE MATTER OF THE APPEAL OF: GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN STEWARDSHIP FOUNDATION, INC.
North Carolina Court of Appeals, No. COA13-1447, August 19, 2014: property not wholly and exclusively used for educational or scientific purposes subject to property taxes
The court accepted findings of substantial retail and commercial activity on the property, including profit from retail sales in excess of [...]
Supreme Judicial Court of Maine, No. YOR-13-511, August 7, 2014: land fully devoted to conservation and free public access is tax exempt.
The Trust owns eleven contiguous parcels of land on and near Sawyer Mountain in Limington. Eight of the parcels are open space properties which are protected by conservation easements enforceable by third parties, including easements [...]
U.S. Tax Court, 2014 TC Memo 159, August 6, 2014: Court makes its own valuation of conservation easement contribution.
At issue was the valuation of a conservation easement for the purposes of a federal income tax deduction for a “qualified conservation contribution.” Both the taxpayer/petitioner and the IRS (respondent) introduced expert testimony and questioned the credibility of [...]
NJ Super. Ct Appellate Division, Nos. A-5541-11T1, A-6364-11T1, June 20, 2014: Hearing required to amend conservation easement.
As of this writing the opinion is not approved for publication.
In 2001 the Italian American Sportsmen’s Club, Inc. (“IASC”) and developer Crestwood obtained approvals from the New Jersey DEP, including a wetlands transition area waiver (“the 2001 TAW”), to subdivide [...]
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, No. 11432, May 15, 2014: Nonprofit’s forest conservation land entitled to property tax exemption.
New England Forestry Foundation, Inc. (NEFF) is a nonprofit corporation, whose purposes include to “create, foster, and support conservation, habitat, water resource, open space preservation, recreational, and other activities” by “promoting, supporting, and practicing forest management policies and techniques [...]
U.S. Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2014-79, May 6, 2014: Rezoning history to old to affect highest & best use of conservation easement land; no penalty assessed.
At issue was the fair market value of a donated qualified conservation contribution based on the “highest and best use” of the land before imposition of the conservation easement. The appraisal [...]
Massachusetts Appeals Court, No. 13-P-354, April 3, 2014: Recreational use law from liability even when defendant gets economic benefit; no consumer protection liability either.
Linda Patterson brought suit after she was injured from a fall inside a historic church while she toured it. The Pattersons claimed the recreational use statute, M.G.L. c. 21, § 17C (current version [...]
U.S. Tax Court, T.C. Memo 2014-52, March 31, 2014: Façade Easement had zero value; penalties imposed.
The issues in this case about the federal tax deduction for a “qualified conservation contribution” (a historic preservation façade easement) were principally the valuation of the façade easement and what, if any, penalties the taxpayer should pay for misstating the value [...]