Ground Zero: The IRS Attack on Syndicated Conservation Easements

28 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2021

See all articles by Beckett Cantley

Beckett Cantley

Northeastern University

Geoffrey Dietrich

Cantley Dietrich LLC

Date Written: June 7, 2021

Abstract

On June 25, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) announced a settlement initiative (“SI”) to certain taxpayers with pending docketed cases involving syndicated conservation easement (“SCE”) transactions. The SI is the current culmination of a long series of attacks by the IRS against SCE transactions. The IRS has recently found success in the Tax Court against SCEs, but the agency’s overall legal position may be over- stated. It is possible that the recent SI is merely an attempt to capitalize on leverage while the IRS has it. Regardless, the current state of the law surrounding SCEs is murky at best. Whether a taxpayer is contemplating the settlement offer, is currently involved in an unaudited SCE trans- action, or is considering involvement in an SCE transaction in the future, the road ahead is foggy and potentially treacherous.

This Article attempts to shed light on the obstacles that face SCE transactions. This Article: (1) provides an overview of SCE transactions and the main attacks against them; (2) analyzes each of the IRS’s main attacks and the relevant issues that arise; (3) illustrates the relevant pro-taxpayer and anti-taxpayer cases on each issue; (4) discusses the subsequent considerations that taxpayers need to take into account and the future outlook of SCE; and (5) concludes with a summary of the Article’s findings.

Keywords: Tax Shelters, Conservation Easements, Taxation, Listed Transactions

Suggested Citation

Cantley, Beckett and Dietrich, Geoffrey, Ground Zero: The IRS Attack on Syndicated Conservation Easements (June 7, 2021). William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review, Vol. 45, No. 427, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3862070

Beckett Cantley (Contact Author)

Northeastern University ( email )

211 Seacrest Beach Blvd W
Rosemary Beach, FL 32461
United States
702-881-4849 (Phone)

Geoffrey Dietrich

Cantley Dietrich LLC ( email )

4514 Cole Ave. | Suite 600
Dallas, TX TX 75205
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.cantleydietrich.com

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