Organizers of land-conservation deals the IRS considers abusive tax shelters spent years lobbying amid an agency crackdown. Now, they are fighting legislation that could disallow deductions claimed by wealthy Americans and lead to billions of dollars in taxes.
The conflict involves promoters who organize syndicates that buy land, donate easements to leave it undeveloped, and generate large charitable tax deductions. IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig claims the deals, known as syndicated conservation easements, inflate deductions based on overvalued appraisals. The IRS questioned $21 billion in deductions from 2016 to 2018 and is auditing 28,000 taxpayers.