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 [...]
US Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, Nos. 12-1057-cv (Lead), 12-1495-cv (Con), September 19, 2014: Certificate of historical appropriateness subject to RLUIPA; current property interest not needed to bring RLUIPA claim; multiple factors must go into discriminatory intent inquiry.
RLUIPA is the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc et seq. Litchfield’s Historic [...]
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 [...]
US Court of Appeals, DC Circuit, No. 12-5383, August 26, 2014: Non-property owner advocates have standing re. National Register listing.
This case involves efforts to obtain listing in the National Register of Historic Places for Blair Mountain Battlefield, the site of “the largest armed labor conflict in our nation’s history.” The Battlefield was listed in 2009 only [...]
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 [...]
U.S. District Court, D. Wyoming, No. 1:13-CV-00118-SWS, July 25, 2014: No negligent misrepresentation in Amelia Earhart search fundraising.
This decision is of some relevance as a discussion of the claim of Mellon, the plaintiff/donor, that The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (“TIGHAR”), the defendant, engaged in negligent misrepresentation in fundraising. The court found that TIGHAR did [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
US Tax Court, 142 TC 7, March 11, 2014: No federal tax deduction for conservation easement when state law limits easement to 99 years.
Wachter, in a bargain sale transaction, donated to a land trust a portion of the value of a conservation easement on North Dakota land. Wachter claimed a tax deduction for donation of a [...]
U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, No. 12-9009, March 7, 2014: Highest and best use in easement appraisal must be most reasonably probable in the reasonably near future.
Esgar appealed the decision of the Tax Court in Esgar v. Commissioner (Esgar I), US Tax Court, 2012 TC Memo 35, February 6, 2012. In Esgar I the Tax [...]
U.S. Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2013-266, November 19, 2013: No historic preservation easement deduction when donor doesn’t have right to restrict entire exterior.
A historic preservation easement was donated by a partnership (the “Partnership”) on the façade of a building divided for ownership purposes into two segments: an “Office Property”, which consists of the first 14 floors [...]
US Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2013-254, November 12, 2013: Preservation easement deductible despite similar restrictions in local New York City historic preservation law.
The court held that this façade easement for a “certified historic structure” qualifies for a tax deduction despite some overlap with New York City’s Landmarks Law. The decision offers reasons that the circumstances in [...]
U.S. District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma, Case No. C12-5140 RBL, September 25, 2013: Holds USDA conservation easement either created two lots or owner is entitled to a rescission of easement.
Plaintiff GLW owns 110 acres of undeveloped land located along the Columbia River Gorge, on which its predecessor sold a conservation easement to the United States Forest [...]
U.S. Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2013-224, September 23, 2013: Appraisal deemed “qualified” on reconsideration, based on Scheidelman II decision.
This case is a reconsideration of the Tax Court’s decision in Friedberg v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2011- 238 (Friedberg I) in light of the US 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Scheidelman v. Commissioner, 682 [...]