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 [...]
Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit, No. 14-1863, April 24, 2015: Penalty upheld for gross valuation misstatement.
The Kaufmans’ claim of a federal income tax deduction for donating a historic preservation easement (“preservation restriction” in Massachusetts) was denied after multiple court proceedings culminating in the Tax Court finding that the value of the easement was zero and that [...]
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 [...]
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, T.C. Memo. 2014-161, August 11, 2014: Recording of NY easement determines date of compliance with tax regs. Substantial compliance with appraisal date requirement adequate.
Marco Zarlengo (“Zarlengo”) and his ex-wife Merilyn Sandin-Zarlengo (“Sandin-Zarlengo) signed a “facade conservation easement” (historic preservation easement) in 2004, and it was recorded in 2005. They each claimed a qualified [...]
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 [...]
Conn. Appellate Court, AC 36326, July 8, 2014: Stone wall is “permanent structure”
At issue was whether a stone wall erected by Medina, the defendant, at a location where a restrictive covenant between private parties prohibited construction of any “permanent structure,” was a permanent structure in violation of the covenant. A lower court agreed with Medina that [...]
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 [...]
US Tax Court, T.C. Memo 2014-124. June 19, 2014: quid pro quo for historic conservation easement not fully valued; deduction denied.
The claim by Seventeen Seventy Sherman Street, LLC (Petitioner) for a charitable deduction for a conservation easement it granted to a charitable organization was denied by the IRS. The Petitioner conceded that the grant of the [...]
US Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, No. 13-2650, June 18, 2014: evidence supports Tax Court; easement had no value for charitable contribution purposes.
The IRS denied Scheidelman a charitable deduction for a façade easement on a property in a New York City historic district. The Tax Court sided with the IRS in Scheidelman v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. [...]
US Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, No. 13-60131, June 11, 2014: Reliance on qualified appraisal and accountant advice can be good faith basis to avoid tax penalty, but tax court’s valuation decision upheld.
This decision is the fourth in this historic preservation façade easement tax case. The case began when Whitehouse made a charitable contribution of a [...]
U.S. Tax Court, 142 T.C. 16, May 14, 2014: Preservation easement valuation zero in historic district. 2006 carryover deduction claim subject to accuracy penalty.
At issue was the valuation for federal income tax deduction purposes of historic preservation façade easements on two single-family residences in Boston’s South End Historic District. The question was whether the burdens imposed [...]