In recent blog posts, including the most recently posted on December 4, 2015 (Click here), we analyzed the IRS's recently-adopted and problematic position that general amendment clauses in conservation easements deeds violate the perpetuity requirement in Section 170(h). In our blog post dated November 12, 2015 (Click here), we shared with our readers The Land Trust Alliance's letter (dated November 10, 2015) to Karin Gross and Marc Caine of the IRS Office of Chief Counsel in which the LTA strongly protested the IRS position on amendment clauses. (Click here).
In the latest development to report on December 4, 2015, the LTA expanded the discussion by issuing new guidance on the use of amendment clauses in conservation easement deeds, to land trusts and other members of the conservation community (Click here to view LTA's new guidance), by recommending that conservation easement deeds continue to include a general amendment clause and explaining why that is good conservation practice.
Moreover, the LTA's guidance characterizes the IRS's ill-conceived position on amendment clauses as a “trial tactic aimed at disallowing conservation easement deductions on technical grounds in order to avoid the difficulty of challenging perceived overvaluations.” Happily, the LTA expressed a renewed commitment to “vigorously oppose IRS attempts to punish landowners simply for signing a conservation easement that includes an amendment clause.”