Land Trust Alliance Statement on U.S. Department of Justice Action

This is a watershed moment. Given the injunctive relief and severe penalties sought by the government, no investor in his or her right mind would now go near such a scheme.

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The Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization working to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America, today welcomed a complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Justice against promotors of an allegedly abusive conservation easement syndication tax scheme. The following statement can be attributed to Andrew Bowman, president of the Land Trust Alliance:

"The Land Trust Alliance has fought for years to stop the type of abusive tax shelter described in the government’s complaint. While we cannot speak to the merits of the specific allegations in the complaint, we applaud the U.S. Department of Justice and its partners at the Internal Revenue Service for taking forceful action to crack down on abusive tax schemes involving the syndication of conservation easement donations.

"This is a watershed moment. Given the injunctive relief and severe penalties sought by the government, no investor in his or her right mind would now go near such a scheme.

"I also note with appreciation the Justice Department’s recognition that these transactions are distinct from the vast majority of conservation easement donations completed each year that are truly philanthropic. These honest donations – motivated by real charitable intent – protect our lands, our wildlife, our waters and our ways of life. By appropriately focusing its efforts, the Justice Department is allowing truly philanthropic conservation to continue unimpeded.

"This is not the end of our fight against abusive tax shelters involving conservation easement donations. The Land Trust Alliance will continue to seek a permanent, legislative solution to halt abuse through the bipartisan Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act. And our member land trusts will remain ever vigilant and on guard against any schemes that could undermine public confidence in private land conservation transactions."

More information about this issue and the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act is available here.

About the Land Trust Alliance

Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents 1,000 member land trusts supported by more than 200,000 volunteers and 4.6 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C., and operates several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available at http://www.landtrustalliance.org.

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