Document / Guidance

Important Advisory: Tax Shelter Abuse of Conservation Donations

Posted 2015 Updated November 29, 2022
Land Trust Alliance
About This Guidance

All Land Trust Alliance member land trusts adopt and commit to implement Land Trust Standards and Practices, the ethical and technical guidelines for the responsible operation of a land trust. Those guidelines require that all Alliance member land trusts refuse to knowingly participate in tax shelter transactions. To assist land trusts in avoiding these transactions, the Alliance is providing this updated Advisory, which updates and supersedes in full all prior versions.

The purpose of this Advisory is to:

  • assist land trusts in understanding tax shelter transactions that use conservation tax incentives;

  • explain applicable practices, requirements and regulations

  • describe due diligence that land trusts can use to identify tax shelter transactions;

  • make clear a land trust’s options and obligations once it has identified a likely tax shelter transaction; and

  • make clear that Practice 10C4 in the Standards and this Advisory do not apply to donations of conservation easements or land by an individual or sole proprietorship, or by a pass-through entity that consists of related parties.

Approved by the Conservation Defense Committee February 1, 2018.