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. 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 [...]
Massachusetts Appeals Court, No. 15-P-773, August 25, 2016: Concurring opinion calls for change of test whether government designation gives land Mass. constitutional protection.
At issue here was the whether the City of Westfield had taken steps sufficient to make a playground subject to the protections of Massachusetts’ Constitution Article 97, which protects various conservation and historic preservation [...]
Supreme Court of Oregon, 360 Or. 115, August 4, 2016: New owner can’t remove historic designation imposed during previous ownership under OR law.
The property in question, the Carman House, was built circa 1856. In 1992, when the property was owned by Richard Wilmot, the City of Lake Oswego placed a historic designation on the Carman House. [...]
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. 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 [...]
Court of Appeals of California, Second District, Division Eight, No. B259672, September 9, 2015: Building and occupancy permits void after demolition in excess of permit.
In this mandamus action, demolition, building and occupancy permits issued by the City of Los Angeles were declared void because the entire structure was demolished, contrary to previously issued permits which required [...]
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 [...]
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 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 [...]
Appellate Court of Connecticut, Ac 35713, August 12, 2014: Attorney’s fees awarded to historic commission.
Sciame was ordered by the local Historic District Commission (Commission) to remove certain renovations on a property in a historic district. When he failed to comply, the commission sued. After a trial on the issues found for the commission, and trial and [...]
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. 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, 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 [...]
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 [...]