The provisions of IRC Section 170(k) were enacted in the bicentennial year of 1976 to provide federal tax incentives for the preservation of America’s historic and natural beauty. Since then, land conservation has grown rapidly. According to the 2010 National Land Trust Census released on November 16, 2011 by the Land Trust Alliance, there are currently more than 47 million acres of land under the collective charge of some 1,700 land trusts and similar entities. Yet, there are serious issues facing land conservationists, landowners, appraisers and their professional consultants today. In the April 5, 2011 opinion in Boltar v. Commissioner, Judge Mary Ann Cohen referred to a “cottage industry of experts who function primarily in the market for tax benefits”. Just over one year later, IRS spokeswoman Karin Gross cited 216 conservation contribution cases then docketed in the Tax Court. Real estate markets are still recovering from the 2007-2008 downward spiral as well. Against this background, our speakers will provide a brief review of statutory and regulatory guidance in federal and state land conservation, will review recent and pending federal cases, and will discuss current issues involved in a tax-incentived land conservation transaction.
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