Tucson, Ariz. (September 29, 2021)—Archaeology Southwest joins national and local conservation organizations in supporting passage of the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act (S. 2256/H.R. 4164). The Act, which is included in the reconciliation package before Congress, would bolster existing land conservation using private property tools while ending abuses that detract from charitable investments in protecting important places and landscapes. Archaeology Southwest has sustained investments in more than 20 conservation easements and private preserves.
President and CEO Bill Doelle and Landscape and Site Preservation Program Director John R. Welch wrote to Arizona Senators Sinema and Kelly in support of the Act, stating:
“First, we applaud inclusion of the bipartisan Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act (H.R. 4164 and S. 2256) in the reconciliation package. Second, we alert you to bad actors seeking to continue to profit from unlawful transactions and to their spurious claims that passage of the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act would hinder land conservation. This is untrue. Each year, about 2,500 conservation donations are made by private landowners for truly charitable purposes. These altruistic donations total about $1 billion in claimed tax deductions per year. This figure stands in sharp contrast with the $9.2 billion claimed by syndicators for only 296 entities in 2018 (please see the 2020 Senate Finance Committee report on this abuse).
“The bad actors defending the abusive transactions disguised as philanthropy claim the effective date of the proposed S. 2256 is retroactive. This, too, is false. The effective date of the legislation simply mirrors the date the IRS placed these bad actors on notice and warned them to halt their abusive transactions. Maintaining the effective date in the legislation will ensure that funds improperly taken from taxpayers will be recovered and save millions in unnecessary enforcement and litigation costs. Changes to the effective date would only serve to protect the massive profiteering enjoyed by the bad actors.″
Further, and in essence, “Passing the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act will safeguard the taxpaying public while ensuring that the federal tax incentive for land conservation and heritage place preservation remains available for genuine philanthropists. The time has come to pass legislation that re-confirms the integrity of the Charitable Conservation Easement Program.″
Learn more about the federal conservation easement tax deduction (Land Trust Alliance) >>
Learn more about the importance of passing the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act (Land Trust Alliance) >>
Read Archaeology Southwest’s letter in full (opens as a PDF) >>
Learn more about Archaeology Southwest’s conservation easement program >>
Learn more about conservation easements Archaeology Southwest holds >>
About Archaeology Southwest
Archaeology Southwest is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Tucson, Arizona, that explores and helps protect the places of the past across the American Southwest and Mexican Northwest. For three decades, Archaeology Southwest has fostered meaningful connections to the past and respectfully safeguarded its irreplaceable resources. Learn more at archaeologysouthwest.org.
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For Immediate Release
September 29, 2021
Media Contact: John R. Welch, email@example.com
(520) 882-6946 x 13
Banner image: Archaeology Southwest holds an archaeological conservation easement on the 158-acre Spier 142 site.