Supreme Court of Virginia, Record No. 160305, March 2, 2017: Court picks which of 2 easement sections controls owner’s actions.
This decision resulted from a request for summary judgment as to whether a landowner had violated a conservation easement on its land. Each side in the dispute asserted that a different section of the easement controlled certain [...]
Supreme Judicial Court ME, 2017 ME 17, January 26, 2017: Maine landowner doesn’t have standing to seek enforcement of conservation easement on land of another.
This case interprets a Maine statute to decide whether an owner of land subject to a conservation easement has standing to ask the courts to enforce the restriction as to another parcel [...]
U.S. Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2016-233, December 22, 2016: Preservation easement donee’s 990 cannot substitute for contemporaneous written acknowledgment letter.
The Internal Revenue Code requires that to qualify for a federal income tax deduction for contribution of a historic preservation easement or conservation easement valued at $250 or more, the taxpayer must substantiate the contribution by (among [...]
U.S. Dist. Court, D. New Jersey, Civ. No. 2:11-5094(KM) (MAH), November 21, 2016: State law claims against conservation easement holder not dismissed.
The relevant cast of characters in this matter are Huff, managing member of Ecotone Farm LLC (Ecotone), the Plaintiffs; the Wards, neighbors to the farm property, Defendants; Fox, the Township Engineer, also a Defendant; and [...]
U.S. District Court, S.D. New York, 15-cv-2561 (PKC), Oct. 25, 2016: Façade easement protection of entire exterior must be absolute.
At issue was whether a historic preservation easement on a building in a historic district could qualify for a federal charitable tax deduction even if the easement holder could grant an exception to the prohibition against alteration [...]
US Court of Appeals, First Circuit, No. 15-2270, September 23, 2016: Upholds NPS disapproval of Long Wharf restaurant use.
On appeal the court upheld the District Court decision in Boston Redevelopment Authority v. National Park Service (BRA I) 125 F.Supp.3d 325 (2015) in favor of the National Park Service (NPS), forbidding the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) from using [...]
Court of Appeals of Kentucky, No. 2015-CA-000499-MR, June 17, 2016: Ag conservation easement does not create public use protected from taking.
The issues in this case are (1) whether a taking of an easement on private land for a sewer line by the Water District is prohibited because of an agricultural conservation easement which the landowner previously [...]
U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, No. 14-71580, June 1, 2016: Upholds Tax Court decision about highest and best use.
In the Tax Court decision Mountanos v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2013-138, June 3, 2013 (Mountanos I), the tax court agreed with the IRS that a federal tax deduction should not be allowed for a conservation easement Mountanos [...]
U.S. Court of Federal Claims, No. 15-1359C, May 26, 2016: Trial may proceed on US liability for failure to remove mechanic’s lien.
This decision is about procedural matters but is reported here as an illustration of a problem that may not be addressed by the provisions commonly found in most historic preservation and conservation easements: mechanics liens.
U.S. Tax Court, 146 T.C. 13, April 27, 2016: Formula for sharing post-extinguishment proceeds must conform exactly to IRS Regs.
Despite the federal Tax Code and Treasury Regulations’ requirement that to be eligible for a tax deduction a donated conservation easement must be enforceable in forever and always (“in perpetuity”), the law recognizes the possibility that even [...]
Supreme Court of Virginia, Record No. 141577, February 12, 2016: Conservation easement ambiguity resolved in favor of allowing construction.
This controversy arose because of construction activities and proposed uses of land subject to a conservation easement. The legal questions were whether a Virginia conservation easement should be construed “strictly” (i.e., narrowly) against restrictions on land, whether certain [...]
U.S. Bankruptcy Appellate Panel, 1st Circuit, BAP NO. MW 15-035, Bankruptcy Case No. 14-40719-HJB, January 20, 2016: Homestead protection in Massachusetts depends on actual use of property when homestead arises, not owner’s intentions or the property’s subdivision.
This case is about whether the Massachusetts Homestead Act provides protection in bankruptcy for a debtor’s land adjacent to, but [...]
U.S. Dist. Court, SD New York, No. 11 Civ. 8157 (ER), February 1, 2016: Preservation easement recording date is contribution date in New York.
Mecox Partners LP (“Mecox”) donated a historic preservation easement and open space easement on property in New York State to a charitable organization. The deed of easement was fully executed in 2004, but [...]
U.S. Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2016-1, January 4, 2016: No preservation easement tax deduction unless appraisal filed with tax return.
Gemperle, the taxpayer (petitioner), claimed a federal income tax deduction for 2007 and 2008 for the contribution of a historic preservation easement on the façade of a Chicago home. Contrary to the requirements of the Internal Revenue [...]
U.S. Tax Court, T.C. Memo 2015-236, December 9, 2015: Golf course conservation easement doesn’t qualify for deduction.
The Tax Court held that contribution of certain conservation easements on land at the subject golf course do not qualify for a Federal income tax charitable deduction because they do not meet the conservation purposes requirement of the tax Code, [...]
U.S. Tax Court, 145 T.C. No. 13, December 7, 2015: Upholds IRS procedure for imposition of 40% accuracy related penalty on conservation easement overvaluation.
The issue in this case was about the internal procedure of the IRS when imposing an accuracy related penalty under Internal Revenue Code section 6662 for the misstatement of valuation of conservation easement [...]
Supreme Court of Montana, 2015 MT 265, No. DA 14-0798, September 8, 2015: Conservation restrictions created outside Montana conservation easement statute enforceable.
The basic issue in this case was whether in Montana an easement in gross (here, a restriction for the benefit of a person, rather than benefitting a piece of land (a “dominant estate”) that binds [...]
US District Court, S.D. California, No. 12cv3055-LAB (MDD), September 8, 2015: Non-economic value of conservation easement excluded in valuation of taking.
This decision is about excluding evidence in a trial to determine how much the United States must compensate the County of San Diego for taking a small parcel of land subject to a conservation easement. The [...]
US Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit, No. 13-73234, August 12, 2015: Mortgage subordination at the time of easement gift, not later, required for deduction.
The US Tax Court held in Minnick v. Commissioner (Minnick I), 2012 T.C. Memo 345, December 17, 2012, that Treasury Regulations §1.170A-14(g)(2) requires that, for a taxpayer to take a deduction for the [...]
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 [...]