Real Estate

Congress may curb abuses of this charitable deduction used by wealthy


An IRS office building in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York.

Timothy Fadek/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Last December, two Atlanta tax professionals pled guilty to a scheme that defrauded the IRS of more than $250 million in taxes.

The scam claimed more than $1.2 billion in fraudulent charitable deductions through so-called syndicated conservation easements, a strategy most taxpayers probably have never heard of.

Conservation easement tax incentives were created by Congress to help promote land preservation. Property owners give up certain rights with regard to use or development in order to keep the land as open space. In return, they get a charitable deduction to help offset the loss…


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