Tax Talks: Conservation Easements

March 27, 2014

Tax Talks

The Taxation Practice attorneys of Taylor English Duma LLP invite you to join us for a conversation. This program is part of a series hosted for tax attorneys and accountants to address timely topics and promote discussion.

A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust that permanently restricts the owner's use of the land for conservation purposes. However, the IRS often attacks the structure, management, and value of such transactions. Panelists Claud Clark, the taxpayer's appraiser in the Kiva Dunes case, Katherine Eddins, Executive Director of Georgia Land Trust, Inc., Alabama Land Trust, Inc., and  The Chattowah Open Land Trust, Inc., and Vivian Hoard, tax litigation attorney at Taylor English have many years of experience working in the conservation easement field. The discussion will address major issues that put conservation easements in the IRS's cross-hairs as well as ways to mitigate an IRS challenge.

Featured Speakers

Claud Clark III

Clark Davis P.C.

In a landmark decision dated June 22nd 2009, the analyses and opinions developed by Claud Clark III were upheld by the US Tax Court. The case involved the value of a perpetual conservation easement which is part of Kiva Dunes Golf Course located on the Fort Morgan peninsula. This easement was transferred to the North American Land Trust by owner Kiva Dunes LLC in December 2002 for the purpose of preserving wildlife habitat and open space vistas.

Mr. Clark determined a deduction value of $30,588,235.

The deduction for the contribution depends on a "before and after" determination of value. The United States Tax Court upheld Mr. Clark's analysis authorizing the use of a highest and best use subdivision analysis in the valuation of the easement.

Katherine Eddins

Executive Director, Georgia Land Trust, Inc., Alabama Land Trust, Inc. The Chattowah Open Land Trust, Inc.

Katherine Eddins has served as executive director of Georgia Land Trust, Inc., Alabama Land Trust, Inc., and The Chattowah Open Land Trust, Inc. for more than thirteen years. Katherine graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law, Juris Doctorate, and subsequently received a master's degree in forestry from Auburn University, graduating summa cum laude. She has been published in the Journal of Forestry and has practiced law and natural resource management. Ms. Eddins is the chairman of the advisory committee for Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, member of the Leadership Council for the Land Trust Alliance, co-chair of the Choccolocco Creek Watershed Alliance, board member for the Longleaf Alliance, and secretary of the board of the Holy Comforter Episcopal Day School.

Vivian Hoard

Tax Litigation Attorney, Taylor English

Vivian Hoard focuses her practice on civil and criminal tax controversy and tax litigation. She is a frequent speaker on tax controversy matters and will be presenting an update on Conservation Easement challenges by the IRS at the 13th Annual North Carolina/South Carolina/Georgia Tax Section Workshops in May. Her article, "Amending Conservation Easements," was recently published in the August 2013 edition of Practical Tax Strategies.

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