Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act Reintroduced in House and Senate

July 1, 2021

On June 24th, Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Steve Daines (R-MT), Debbie Stabenow (R-MI), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Mike Kelly (R-PA) reintroduced the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act of 2021 (S. 2256 and H.R. 4164). The legislation, which was first introduced in 2017, seeks to safeguard taxpayer money that is vulnerable to abuse of the charitable conservation easement tax exemption program, which is designed to preserve irreplaceable land.

Syndicated conservation easements, where promoters sell interests in lands to individuals who then receive conversation easement tax deductions well above the purchase price, have been an ongoing issue since 2010. The 2020 Senate Finance Committee report stated that from 2010-2018, $36.2 billion dollars were claimed by bad actors taking advantage of the tax deduction. The bipartisan report concluded that without swift action taken by Congress, an increasing amount of tax revenue will be lost through these abusive tax shelters in the years to come.

ASA continues to support the passage of Senate Bill 2256 and House Resolution 4164 respectively, so that the thousands of legitimate conservation easement transactions may continue, and appraisers can continue to provide their services as part of claiming the deduction. To read Senate Bill 2256, click here. To read House Resolution 4164, click here. To read the letter sent to congressional leaders from ASA, along with twelve other organizations, click here.