ABA RPTE Conservation Easement Task Force Report: Recommendations Regarding Conservation Easements and Federal Tax Law

53 Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Journal, Fall 2018/Winter 2019

University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 313

128 Pages Posted: 31 May 2019 Last revised: 28 Jun 2019

See all articles by W. William Weeks

W. William Weeks

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Turney Berry

Wyatt Tarrant & Combs LLP

Jonathan G. Blattmachr

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP

Jason E. Havens

Holland & Knight LLP; Havens & Miller, P.L.L.C.

Nancy A. McLaughlin

University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law

James Slaton

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Steve Swartz

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Philip Tabas

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

In October 2015, the American Bar Association’s Real Property, Trust and Estate Law (RPTE) section convened a Conservation Easement Task Force. The objective of the Task Force was to provide recommendations regarding federal tax law as it relates to conservation easements. This Report is the culmination of the Task Force’s work.

Part I of the Report is an Executive Summary of the Task Force’s recommendations. Part II provides the background necessary to understand the Task Force’s recommendations. Part III briefly sets forth the Task Force’s comments on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 as it relates to charitable contributions in general and conservation easement donations in particular. In Part IV, the Task Force recommends that the Treasury publish safe harbor provisions that would be common to most conservation easements. Part V sets forth the Task Force’s recommendations regarding amendments and discretionary consents, the inconsistent use regulations, and furthering transparency in conservation easement administration. Part VI discusses issues surrounding valuation of conservation easements. Part VII contains a brief comment on syndicated conservation easement transactions. Part VIII is the Task Force response to certain proposals the Treasury Department made (most recently in 2016) to change conservation easement law.

Appendix A sets forth the “perpetuity” requirements of § 170(h) and the Treasury Regulations.
Appendix B offers specific language to facilitate the preparation of key safe harbor provisions.

Keywords: conservation easements, in perpetuity, perpetuity, federal tax incentives, 170(h), federal deduction for easement donations, amendments, discretionary consents, valuation

JEL Classification: K11, K12, K32, K34, Q15, Q24

Suggested Citation

Weeks, W. William and Berry, Turney and Blattmachr, Jonathan G. and Havens, Jason Edward and McLaughlin, Nancy A. and Slaton, James and Swartz, Steve and Tabas, Philip, ABA RPTE Conservation Easement Task Force Report: Recommendations Regarding Conservation Easements and Federal Tax Law (2019). 53 Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Journal, Fall 2018/Winter 2019 ; University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 313. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3385453

W. William Weeks (Contact Author)

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Turney Berry

Wyatt Tarrant & Combs LLP ( email )

500 West Jefferson St
Suite 2800
Louisville, KY 40202
United States

Jonathan G. Blattmachr

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP ( email )

1 Chase Manhattan Plaza
New York, NY 10005
United States
212-530-5066 (Phone)

Jason Edward Havens

Holland & Knight LLP ( email )

50 North Laura Street
Suite 3900
Jacksonville, FL 32202
United States
904-353-2000 (Phone)
904-358-1872 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.hklaw.com

Havens & Miller, P.L.L.C.

4481 Legendary Dr
Suite 204
Destin, FL 32541
United States

Nancy A. McLaughlin

University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

332 South 1400 East, Rm 101
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States
801-581-5944 (Phone)
801-581-6897 (Fax)

James Slaton

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Steve Swartz

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Philip Tabas

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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