Research Report Charitable Contributions of Conservation Easements
Adam Looney
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A tax deduction intended to encourage conservation of environmentally important land and historic buildings has become a lucrative way for real estate developers to finance development projects—cheating the government out of billions of dollars of revenue and in some cases doing little to advance environmental protection. The deduction has proved to be a popular and successful tool for encouraging conservation of environmentally important land and historic buildings, and the tax benefit to donors is often seen as a key component in making a conservation deal come together. However, some donors abuse the provision by applying grossly inflated appraisals to the value of the easement to increase their charitable deduction or by taking donations for easements that do not fulfill bona fide conservation purposes.
Research Areas Taxes and budgets
Tags Taxes and business
Policy Centers Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center