[IMGCAP(1)]Having played golf once in my life during my days at Ft. Bragg, N.C., I’m not exactly an avid golfer. But as two golf courses in North Carolina discovered last month, it’s getting tougher for them to successfully claim a charitable contribution deduction for a conservation easement.

In Atkinson et al. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, T.C. Memo 2015-236, the Tax Court found that the two courses in St. James Plantation, N.C., did not qualify for the deduction. A conservation easement is basically the granting of a qualified interest in real property to a qualified organization to be used exclusively for conservation purposes. Its deductibility is governed by Code section 170(h). The petitioners in the case were the members of the Members Club, and the tax matters partner of the Reserve Club.

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