The Internal Revenue Service has found problems with many of the conservation easements it gives to landowners in Colorado.
The easements provide tax breaks, such as credits and deductions, to landowners who agree not to develop their land or break it into parcels. In August, then-IRS Acting Commissioner Kevin Brown wrote to inform Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., that only 12 of the easements it had investigated did not have problems, according to The Denver Post. The IRS at that point had examined 109 out of 290 cases.
The IRS and the Colorado Department of Revenue have sent letters to at least 90 taxpayers saying they owe back taxes. Landowners can be assessed back taxes if the appraisal on their land is too high or if they take too great a deduction.
The Colorado Division of Real Estate has subpoenaed 30 individuals who were involved with easements on five ranches to find out more about the validity of their appraisals. The IRS has been looking into easements across the country, but the majority of cases are in Colorado.
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