The IRS issued Notice 2017-10 on December 23, 2016, designating certain donations of conservation easements by partnerships as a “listed transaction.”

P4C has five primary, overarching concerns with the Notice:

  • The Notice is overly broad and burdensome, is retroactively applied all the way back to the tax year of 2010, and does not address the issue of overvaluation;
  • The Notice is not sufficiently supported by evidence. By any publicly available statistics, abuses of valuation with conservation donations are rare and there is no indication that overvalued deductions are more likely to be claimed by a partnership of unrelated individuals as compared to an individual landowner or a partnership comprised of family members;
  • It targets an important legal form and category of conservation easement donors (i.e., partnerships) while ignoring the principal concern relevant to all such donations – namely, ensuring fair and accurate appraisals;
  • It was issued in final form without a process by which interested members of the public could participate and provide input; and
  • Coming near the one-year anniversary of bipartisan legislation that enhanced and made permanent the conservation easement tax deduction, the Notice clearly countermands Congressional intent to encourage more of these donations and ensure there is further conservation of private lands in addition to development of those lands.