06.24.21

Daines, Stabenow Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect Conservation Easements, Stop Abuse from Scam Artists

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) reintroduced the bipartisan “Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act” to stop the abuse of conservation easements, save taxpayers billions of dollars and promote conservation in the United States. 

“Montana farmers and ranchers work hard to conserve our lands while scam artists are taking advantage of the conservation easement program,” Daines said“This type of abuse cannot continue. My bipartisan bill will go after bad actors and help save taxpayers billions of dollars while promoting conservation across the nation.”

“Our bill preserves the integrity of the conservation easement program which plays an important role in protecting family farms, open land, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities across Michigan and our country. Republicans and Democrats came together to end this abuse and save taxpayer money,” said Senator Stabenow.

At a Senate Finance Committee hearing in April, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig stated that 28,000 syndicated conservation easement cases are under examination, and that the IRS believes $21 billion syndicated conservation easement deductions were improper. This has occurred even with increased enforcement by the IRS, which is costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars per case.  

The “Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act,” which tracks an IRS Listing Notice published in December 2016, would generally disallow a charitable deduction if it exceeds 2.5 times (250%) of a partner’s original investment. The bill preserves this deduction for people with true charity and conservation in mind, including for family farms and ranches.

Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) joined as cosponsors.

To read the bill text, click HERE.

Background: 

Daines and Stabenow first introduced the “Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act” in 2019 and again in 2020.

In April, Daines asked IRS Commissioner Rettig about the importance of passing his bipartisan “Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act” in a U.S. Senate Finance Committee hearing. 

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 Contact: Katherine McKeoghKatie Schoettler