WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — 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 applauded the House Ways and Means Committee vote to advance the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act as part of reconciliation legislation. The following statement can be attributed to Andrew Bowman, president & CEO of the Land Trust Alliance:
“In voting to advance the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act, the House Ways and Means Committee made clear that Congress must act now to safeguard taxpayers and halt the abuse of the federal incentive for conservation easement donations. On behalf of the Land Trust Alliance, I thank the committee along with Reps. Mike Thompson of California and Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, who have long championed this important, bipartisan legislation.
“The time has come to stop abuse that has dragged on for years. Indeed, the abuse grew dramatically after the IRS put bad actors on notice and warned them to stop engaging in these transactions. The abuse jumped from $6 billion in unwarranted deductions in 2016 to $6.8 billion in 2017. In 2018, bad actors continued to game the system through abusive transactions and claimed $9.2 billion in unwarranted deductions. And all signs are that the abuse at a huge scale continued in 2019 and up to the present day. If such abuse is allowed to continue, taxpayers will suffer the loss of additional billions of dollars.
“Opponents of the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act have attempted to undercut the legislation by claiming it is retroactive, but that’s a disingenuous argument. The effective date is the date the IRS placed bad actors on notice and warned them to halt their abusive transactions. Maintaining the legislation’s effective date will ensure that funds improperly taken from taxpayers and pocketed by these bad actors will be recovered. Any attempts to shift the effective date are de facto attempts to protect the massive profiteering these bad actors have enjoyed.
“Congress must pass the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act this year – and America’s conservation community looks forward to seeing that happen.”
More information about this issue is available at https://www.landtrustalliance.org/charitable-conservation-easement-program-integrity-act-advocate-toolkit.
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 nearly 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.
# # #
Joshua Lynsen, Land Trust Alliance, 202-800-2239, [email protected]
SOURCE Land Trust Alliance