Sending Office: Honorable Mike Thompson
No one should make a profit by taking a deduction for a charitable contribution. Unfortunately, any tax provision can be abused, and a few bad actors are trying to turn a profit from a charitable incentive that has encouraged thousands of taxpayers to preserve
millions of acres of green space over the past 50 years.
Since 1964, taxpayers have been allowed to take a charitable deduction for donating the development rights of property to qualified conservation organizations. These conservation easement gifts permanently protect family farms, key wildlife habitats, and
historic buildings for future generations. With strong bipartisan support, a permanent enhanced conservation easement tax incentive was approved by Congress in 2015.
Recently, the syndication of conservation easement deals has caught the attention of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Many of these arrangements have now been labeled as abusive tax shelters. Recently, a sampling of information provided to the Treasury
by participants in these syndication deals revealed that investors claimed deductions that were nine times the amount of their original investment. When one gives to a church or donates to a relief organization, one does not expect to make a profit.
Most donations of conservation easements not only comply with the tax rules, they exhibit real charity. They are generous donations that protect precious land. That’s why we introduced H.R. 4459, the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act.
This bipartisan legislation will protect the integrity of this worthwhile conservation program and is narrowly drafted to shut down those who would abuse this charitable incentive for profit. It disallows a charitable deduction in these abusive cases which
are designed to yield a profit.
MIKE THOMPSON MIKE KELLY
Member of Congress Member of Congress
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