Conservation Easement Appraisals
INFORMATION REQUIRED BY THE IRS
The Internal Revenue Service has very specific requirements for appraisals of conservation easements where a landowner is claiming a charitable contribution deduction for the value of the easement.
In general, a qualified appraisal of a conservation easement should include at least the following information:
- A description of the property in sufficient detail for a person who is not generally familiar with the type of property to determine that the property appraised is the property that was contributed.
- The date of the contribution.
- Terms of any agreement or understanding by the donor related to the use or disposition of the property.
- Name, address and taxpayer identification number of the appraiser.
- The qualifications of the appraiser including background, experience, education and membership in professional appraisal associations.
- Purpose for which appraisal was prepared.
- Date on which the property was valued.
- The appraiser’s assumptions and conclusions regarding the fair market value of the property on the date of the contribution, including fair market value of the property before the easement was in place and the fair market value of the property after the easement was conveyed to the Land Trust (if the before and after approach was used).
- Appraisal method or approach (such as the income approach, the comparable sales or market value approach, or the replacement cost less depreciation approach).
- The specific basis for the valuation, such as any comparable sales transactions.
- An objective analysis of the likelihood that the property would be developed absent the restrictions in the conservation easement, including the effect of any zoning or conservation laws that already restrict the property’s highest and best use.
- An analysis of the impact of permitted uses and any reserved development rights set out in the conservation easement.
- The impact of the conservation easement on the value of any contiguous land owned by the landowner or a relative of the landowner.
- The impact of the conservation easement on the value of any other non-contiguous land owned by the landowner or a related party.