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Ask the IRS, Incentive Renewal Delayed

Advocates Alert: September 28, 2010

Rally 2010 is less than a week away!  We hope you'll join us October 2-5 in Hartford, CT, where dozens of policy-related sessions are on the agenda.

Submit Questions for the IRS Panel at Rally

Ever wondered how tax returns get selected for audits, why revenue agents keep insisting that easements have no value, or how to answer the new questions on your land trust's Form 990?  The IRS panel at Rally is your chance to get answers!  Whether you're able to attend or not, we urge you to e-mail questions in advance to policy@lta.org.

We'll take detailed notes and share them after Rally, but we also encourage you to attend in person:


Workshop C18: Working with the IRS

Monday, October 4 – 4:00-5:30pm
CTCC - Ballroom AB (New location, changed after the program went to print)

A panel discussion with IRS staff involved in managing conservation easement issues, moderated by attorney Stephen J. Small.  See highlights from last year's panel.

  • Marc Caine, Attorney, Internal Revenue Service (NY)
  • Ron Cerruti, Engineering and Valuation Territory Manager, Internal Revenue Service (CA)
  • Karin Gross, Supervisory Attorney, Internal Revenue Service (DC)
  • Stephen Small, Attorney, Law Office of Stephen J. Small, Esq., P.C. (MA)

Tax Bills Delayed -- Remind Congress We're Still Here!

It appears Congress will depart for the campaign trail without acting on tax legislation that could include a renewal the enhanced easement incentive and/or improved estate tax incentives for conservation.  Instead, they will have a "lame duck session" in November and December, when over a trillion dollars in tax cuts will be on the table.  It's extremely hard to predict which provisions will make it on this last train leaving the station, but we need your help to be in the mix!

Tell your Senators and Representatives: "We're still here, we've been waiting all year -- extend the enhanced easement incentive into 2011 and make it permanent!"

  • Campaign events are great opportunities to get face time with your Rep!  Give real examples of conservation deals in jeopardy because of this lapse.
  • October will actually be a relatively quiet month for your Rep's tax staffer in DC -- it's a great chance to have a more substantive conversation! (Switchboard: 202-224-3121)
  • Emphasize that easement donations are complex transactions that require time to do right and we could lose an entire year of conservation if the incentive isn't in place through 2011.
  • Follow-up by e-mail with real world examples and our fact sheets on the easement incentive and/or estate tax.

Always keep in mind that many easement donations still make sense under the old rules -- 30% of AGI over a total of six years.  Run the numbers!  See our updated Frequently Asked Questions.

Thanks for helping!

P.S. -- It's not too late for your feedback on our policy priorities to be considered at the Public Policy 2010 Update and 2011 Review.  Please review the options memo and submit your feedback today.

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Advocates Alerts

February 12: The House successfully voted 279-137, demonstrating a supermajority (67%) of support, on H.R. 644, a package of charitable incentives including the conservation tax incentive.Now we need your help in the Senate to secure co-sponsors! Sens. Heller and Stabenow have requested land trusts’ assistance in asking senators to cosponsor S. 330, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act. Learn more »

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