The fiscal cliff deal provided a welcome reprieve for many land trust priorities, but fiscal deadlines are once again converging, putting the charitable deduction and other land trust priorities at risk.
With no deal in sight, the automatic 8.2% cuts of sequestration appear likely go into effect on March 1. The weeks that follow will be unpredictable. It is possible that in attempting to mitigate those cuts, Congress will increase some cuts to shift funding around, or limit tax deductions (possibly including the charitable deduction) to raise revenues.
We’ll keep you posted every step of the way, but your best defense is to build and maintain close relationships with your members of Congress.
Alliance President Testifies on Charitable Deduction -- You Can Too
Last week, Alliance president Rand Wentworth testified before the House Ways & Means Committee to oppose capping charitable deductions, and to ask that the special tax incentive for conservation easement donations be made permanent.
With both Congress and the White House considering deduction limits, we must all speak up against a cap on charitable deductions that would have a catastrophic effect on land conservation. The Ways & Means Committee website has instructions on how to submit your own testimony by February 28th.
Insider’s Tip: Check out how Rand’s testimony (9:55 in the video) was greatly strengthened by complementary affirmations from Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA) (35:47 in the video). You can lend the same kind of weight to your written testimony and have a more immediate impact by contacting your representative's tax staffer and asking him or her to submit the testimony on your behalf. It's an opportunity to make a personal connection and raise your profile.
Save LWCF from the Budget Debacle
The Land and Water Conservation Fund is set to expire in 2015 and coming budget deadlines make it even more likely that Congress will cut LWCF. To reauthorize and fully dedicate LWCF funding, Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Richard Burr (R-NC) recently introduced S. 338. Please urge your Senators to sign-on as co-sponsors, and be sure to thank them if they last year. Learn more about LWCF.
IRS to Focus Audit Attention on Partnerships
A senior IRS attorney told a recent Utah conference on conservation easement law that the IRS was going to pay special attention to conservation easement donations made by partnerships. In recent cases, the IRS has challenged partnerships as invalid for income tax purposes where they did not have a profitmaking objective apart from the transfer of tax benefits.
In Case You Missed It: New 8283
In December of 2012, the IRS released a new version of Form 8283 for the reporting of non-cash charitable contributions with new instructions. Read our analysis of key changes for conservation donations.
Free Webinar on Farm Bill Funding
Improve Your Chances for Success with FRPP FundingRuss Shay, Director of Public Policy, , 202-800-2230
Date: February 28, 2013
Time: 2:00-3:30 PM ET
Learn more and register >>
Thanks for helping to make this a very happy new year!
Lynne Sherrod, Western Policy Manager, , 970-487-9924
Sean Robertson, Public Policy Specialist, , 202-800-2229
Bryan David, Public Policy Associate, , 202-800-2223