Save America’s Clocks v. New York

App Div of the NY Supreme Court, 1st Department, 101109/15, 3422, November 30, 2017: NYC interior landmark designation allows Landmarks Preservation Comm. to reject interior alterations and require public access.

The court held that the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has the power under the City’s Landmarks Preservation and Historic Districts Law (Administrative Code of [...]

Ten Twenty Six Investors V. Commissioner

US Tax Court, 2017 TC Memo 115, June 15, 2017: Date of recording conservation easement determines year of eligibility for tax deduction.

The Tax Court agreed with the IRS that a conservation easement donated in 2004 but not recorded until 2006 did not create a qualified conservation contribution in 2004 and therefore did not entitle the donor [...]

15 West 17th Street LLC v. Commissioner

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 [...]

Partita Partners LLC v. United States

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 [...]


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 [...]

Zarlengo v. Commissioner

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 [...]

Scheidelman v. Commissioner (Scheidelman IV)

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. [...]

Gorra v. Commissioner

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 [...]

Friedberg v. Commissioner (Friedberg II)

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 [...]


U.S. Tax Court, 140 T.C. 17, June 24, 2013: Side letter promising termination of conservation easement disqualifies tax deduction.

 Before petitioner Graev donated a historic preservation easement and a cash stewardship contribution to National Architectural Trust (NAT) he requested and received from NAT a letter promising that if the IRS disallowed Graev’s charitable contribution deductions [...]

Schottland V. Brown Harris Stevens Brooklyn, LLC

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Second Department, 2013 NY Slip Op 03982, June 5, 2013: A NY property seller’s covenants against prior acts may require disclosure of a conservation easement.

 In or about 2002, the Netzer defendants granted what the court called “a conservation easement” (it was a historic preservation façade [...]

Scheidelman v. Commissioner (Scheidelman III)

U.S. Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2013-18, January 16, 2013: Finds historic preservation façade easement in historic district did not diminish value of property.

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 Dist. Court, ED New York, No. 10-CV-692, September 21, 2012: NY Town denial of cell tower siting permit on aesthetic grounds upheld.

The Defendant Town of Islip, through its Planning Board (“the Board”) denied a request by plaintiff T-Mobile Northeast LLC (“T-Mobile”) for a special use permit to construct a 120-foot monopole cell tower within a [...]

Toussie v. Town Board of East Hampton

US District Court, E.D. New York, No. 08 CV 1922 (DRH)(WDW), June 18, 2012 (Order): Throws out complaint of denial of equal protection based on malice for Town’s requirement of a conservation easement in subdivision.

The developer of the Manor Lane subdivision (Toussie) alleged that the Town of East Hampton’s subdivision approval condition requiring Toussie to grant [...]

Rothman v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

US Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2012-163, June 11, 2012:  Denies deduction for façade easement because appraisal fails to meet Treasury Reg. requirements.

The Tax Court sided with the IRS in denying a “qualified conservation contribution” tax deduction for a façade easement because, in the Court’s view, the appraisal failed to meet many requirements of Treasury Regulations for [...]

Scheidelman v. Commissioner (Scheidelman II)

US Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit, Nos. 10-3587-ag(L), 10-5316-ag(XAP), June 15, 2012: Mandatory cash contribution with qualified historic preservation easement or conservation easement is deductible; appraisal that states method and basis of valuation is “qualified” even if unpersuasive.

In the case of Scheidelman and Perry v. Commissioner, the Tax Court (T.C. Memo, no. 15171-08, decided, July 14, [...]

Dunlap v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

U.S. Tax Court, T.C. Memo, 2012-126, May 1, 2012: Tax Court finds taxpayers’ appraisals not credible to rebut IRS appraisal, resulting in zero value for tax deduction purposes to historic preservation easement to NAT. Deductions were allowed for “required” cash contributions and accuracy-related penalties were disallowed.

The unit owners of a condominium building (Cobblestone) in a New [...]


U.S. Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2011-238, October 3, 2011:  Denies a contribution deduction for a facade easement based on appraisal defects. Holds: appraisal was not qualified because it did not properly apply the comparable sales method to the “after” value; appraisal adequately stated the method and specific basis for the valuation even if wrong; appraisal summary [...]

Westchester Land Trust v Town of Lewisboro and Wolf Conservation Center

NY Supreme Court, Westchester County, Index no. 23534/10, July 13, 2011: Summary judgment order by trial court that conservation easement from Town to land trust prohibits the creation of fenced enclosures or “habitat” for the keeping of wolves.

The conservation easement was granted by the Town as a condition to receiving a grant from Westchester Land Trust [...]

1982 East, LLC v Commissioner of Internal Revenue (aka Asser v Commissioner)

US Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2011-84, April 12, 2011: Denies preservation easement tax deduction because local law already protects property and because mortgage subordination reserves insurance and condemnation proceeds priority to lender.

The taxpayer/petitioner donated a façade easement and “unused development rights” (UDRs) to Trust for Architectural Easements (formerly known as National Architectural Trust) on a townhouse [...]