On February 17, 2021, Douglas Land Conservancy (DLC) and Douglas County partnered to protect 2,558 acres with perpetual conservation easements on two Douglas County open space properties. Sandstone Ranch (2,038 acres) and the Schmidt Construction Open Space (520 acres) were both acquired by Douglas County in cooperation with the Chatfield Reservoir Mitigation Company to provide mitigation for the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse as part of the Chatfield Storage Reallocation Project. The purchase of Sandstone Ranch was also completed with funding from Great Outdoors Colorado. Continue Reading Douglas Land Conservancy Protects 2,558 Acres in Douglas County
On December 7, 2020, the Colorado Department of Revenue (CDOR) issued a general information letter [Colo. Dep’t of Revenue, Gen. Info. Letter GIL-20-003, 12/07/20] regarding the eligibility of a mutual ditch company to claim a Colorado conservation easement tax credit, except when a state governmental entity is a shareholder. CDOR determined that a mutual ditch company formed under Article 42 of Title 7, C.R.S., or under Articles 121 to 137 of Title 7, C.R.S., is a nonprofit corporation within the definition of 1 CCR 201-2, Rule 39-22-522(1)(e) and is qualified to claim the conservation easement tax credit. The letter clarified, however, that if a shareholder of the mutual ditch company is a state governmental entity, including municipalities and counties as political subdivisions of the state, the mutual ditch company and all of its members will be ineligible to claim the credit. This same reasoning applies to any nonprofit corporation with a state governmental entity as a shareholder.
Keep it Colorado announces its breathtaking new video “”Keep It Colorado: Creating a Colorado Where People, Lands, Waters and Wildlife Thrive.” The video was a collaboration of Keep It Colorado and its member land trusts and includes footage of properties preserved with conservation easements across the state. Bravo to Keep It Colorado and all of the land trusts involved in the making of the video!
Link to Video: Keep It Colorado Video
Colorado Open Lands (COL) announced today its merger with the Southwest Land Alliance (SLA), a land trust serving the south-central portion of Colorado and working primarily in Archuleta County for the past 40 years. SLA has conserved 44 properties on over 26,000 acres of land in southern Colorado. Funding for the completion of the merger was provided by Great Outdoors Colorado and the Jacob and Terese Hershey Foundation. The merger was effective December 31, 2020. Congratulations to both COL and SLA on this partnership!
in December, Douglas Land Conservancy (DLC) accepted conservation easement charitable donations on two separate properties in Douglas County for the permanent protection of open space and wildlife habitat. The Meyer family donated a conservation easement on 40 acres of land in Sedalia near the Pike National Forest. This newly-conserved parcel is adjacent to 440 acres already protected by the family with conservation easements held by DLC. An additional 38 acres in Sedalia along Highway 105 was protected with a conservation easement donated by a private landowner to DLC. Congratulations to DLC and to the landowners on the permanent protection of these beautiful properties!
Colorado Open Lands (COL) announced yesterday that the organization completed its 500th conservation project in Colorado this month. COL has now conserved more than 585,000 acres in Colorado. Congratulations to COL and to its dedicated staff, Board members and volunteers on this impressive milestone!
On November 25, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) updated its Conservation Easement Audit Technique Guide with a revision date of November 9, 2020. The Guide is a reference document for IRS staff for the examination of charitable contributions of conservation easements. Although the IRS is quick to point out that the Guide is not a comprehensive training manual, the Guide does provide information about conservation easements generally and more specific information regarding the requirements for a valid charitable contribution, including citations to recent cases on relevant topics. Land trusts, landowners, and their attorneys can all benefit from reviewing the Guide as a checklist of the issues IRS auditors will be looking for when reviewing a conservation easement charitable contribution.
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) reports that 26 conservation measures supported by TPL in the 2020 election were approved by voters, amounting to nearly $3.7 billion in funding for land conservation, parks, climate resiliency and habitat. Four of these ballot measures were located in the Rocky Mountain region in Colorado and Montana. Continue Reading 2020 Conservation Ballot Measures Approved in the Rocky Mountains
Colorado West Land Trust has announced a merger with Black Canyon Regional Land Trust to better serve the conservation needs of western Colorado. In 2017 the two organizations consolidated operations but continued as two separate legal entities. The success of this collaboration led to the full legal merger. Great Outdoors Colorado provided a grant to assist with the costs of the merger as part of its Resilient Communities Program. Colorado West Land Trust will remain headquartered in Grand Junction with a satellite office in Montrose. Congratulations to both organizations!
The IRS Office of Chief Counsel provides guidance in Notice CC 2021-001 regarding settlement options offered by the IRS for U.S. Tax Court cases currently pending under Notice 2017-10 for syndicated conservation easement transactions. The Notice provides information about financial terms and process for settlement in an effort to promote efficient and consistent resolutions of these pending cases. The guidance suggests the terms of the settlement are more favorable than the results a partnership should expect at trial or terms available through the Independent Office of Appeals.