Preservation easements as currently constituted are under severe threat. Given these challenges, this Article has two objectives. First, this Article will explore ways that easement-holding organizations can increase the public benefit they provide through their efforts to both raise public awareness of these benefits and to reinforce the value provided by the federal tax incentives. Second, this Article will move beyond the tax incentives and detail ways that easement-holding organizations can reduce their reliance on this mechanism—with an eye to further expansion of the role that easements can play within the preservation movement. To this end, this Article is organized into three primary parts. Part II will provide background information on easements, including the development of easements as a preservation tool, how easements are negotiated with individual donors, as well as a discussion of the role tax incentives play in facilitating easement donations. Part III will provide an overview of the recent legal developments in this area, discussing both IRS enforcement initiatives and their impact on the utilization of this tool. Finally, Part IV of this Article will discuss a variety of ways in which easement-holding organizations can refocus their efforts to maximize the level of public benefit obtained through easement donations, and also ways to move beyond such heavy reliance on these tax incentives. Ultimately, if easement-holding organizations are able to move beyond their current limitations, these groups can ensure not only the future viability of this mechanism but also significantly expand the already important role that easements play in protecting our nation’s architectural heritage and historical memory.
Jess R. Phelps,
Preserving Preservation Easements?: Preservation Easements in an Uncertain Regulatory Future,
91 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol91/iss1/5