The Internal Revenue Service has begun issuing summonses as it investigates Colorado's program for conservation easement tax credits.

The state's Division of Real Estate has been investigating the program and asked the IRS to join the probe. The program gives transferable income tax credits of up to $375,000 per easement to landowners who are willing to donate land containing scenic vistas and wildlife habitat to land trusts in order to preserve the land for public benefit.

But some landowners have been accused of getting tax credits for land worth far less than they claim. They have also claimed land such as golf courses and gated communities, and land that already has been developed for oil and gas, according to the Rocky Mountain News. The state has suspended the licenses of two appraisers who overvalued land donated to the program.

The IRS has issued a summons to the Division of Real Estate to review the documents it has gathered so far and may begin investigating some of the land trusts that have been called into question. The Division of Real Estate did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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