top of page
Hummingbird pic.jpg

Trying Times: Conservation Easements and Federal Tax Law 2023

Virtual Program - Monday, May 22, 2023

11:00am-3:00pm ET/10:00am-2:00pm CT/9:00am-1:00pm MT/8am-Noon PT

SPECIAL UPDATE: We are pleased to announce that Scott W. Vance, Associate Chief Counsel (Income Tax & Accounting), IRS Office of Chief Counsel, will be joining us to provide what guidance he can on the recently issued IRS Notice 2023-30. This Notice provides safe harbor “extinguishment” and “boundary line adjustment” clauses for conservation easement deeds. It also describes the process donors may use to amend a conservation easement deed to substitute the safe harbor language for the corresponding language in the original deed by the July 24, 2023, which is the deadline for recording the amendment.


Scott will be available to answer questions from attendees to the extent he is authorized to do so during the Q&A session following the panel presentation on the Notice.

 * * *

This four-hour program will address the latest case law and IRS guidance impacting conservation easements. Experts will offer practical advice to land trust staff and board members, government employees, attorneys, appraisers, and landowners. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear the IRS’s perspective and ask questions of a diverse group of panelists who collectively have almost 200 years of experience with conservation easements and tax incentives. Each of three panel presentations will be followed by time devoted solely to Q&A.

This program will be streamed live (available as audio and video, or just audio). If May 22nd does not work for your schedule, a recording of the program will be made available for a period of time after the event to those who register by May 19.

4.0 hours Utah CLE (pending). Utah online attendees will need to apply for self-study CLE credits. For CLE in other states, attendees must apply directly to the relevant state bar. We cannot guarantee that other state bar requirements will be satisfied and have set the registration fee accordingly.


Register to watch the recording, available until August 31, 2023 »


$50 General Admission
Students complimentary

Here are just a few of the comments we received from attendees last year:

  • Absolutely excellent, experienced presenters, up to date and open discussion by Treasury representative. Very unique.

  • This is probably the best, most professional training I receive related to Conservation Easements.

  • As a land trust employee, I was worried that the program might be primarily for lawyers and would be over my head. It was a perfect balance of legal and practical information. I took 9 pages of notes, much of which I will be forwarding to our lawyer!

  • This was probably one of the best post-grad school seminars I've ever been to. Every moment was informative and I learned far more than I thought I would.

  • I love the drafting tips, keep them coming.

  • Excellent program!

  • Keep up the great work!




Topics to be covered (subject to change based on developments):

  • Dealing with IRS Notice 2023-30, which provides safe harbor “extinguishment” and “boundary line adjustment” clauses for conservation easement deeds. This Notice also describes the process donors may use to amend a conservation easement deed to substitute the safe harbor language for the corresponding language in the original deed by July 24, 2023, which is the deadline for recording the amendment. Scott W. Vance, Associate Chief Counsel (Income Tax & Accounting), IRS Office of Chief Counsel, will be joining us to provide what guidance he can on the Notice

  • Untangling the rules governing surface mining, borrow pits, and other forms of mineral extraction

  • Dealing with federal and state agency conservation easement "templates" that do not comply with IRC § 170(h)

  • New case law developments of note regarding:

    • valuation

    • contemporaneous written acknowledgment

    • baseline documentation

    • IRS Form 8283

  • A primer on correctly and completely filling out the IRS Form 8283 and Supplemental Statement for:

    • pure donations​

    • bargain sales

    • transactions involving the “entire contiguous parcel” rule

    • transactions involving other forms of “enhancement” that reduce a donor’s deduction

  • Risks of and rationales for designating "Special Natural Areas" or "Special Treatment Areas" in a conservation easement


Speaker Bios


Karin Gross is Special Counsel in the IRS Office of Chief Counsel in Washington D.C. She has been involved in much of the litigation and other IRS developments regarding interpretation and enforcement of the § 170(h) deduction for conservation easements donations. She lectures widely in a variety of venues on these issues.

Stephen J. Small is a tax attorney at his own firm, the Law Office of Stephen J. Small, Esq., P.C., in the Boston, Massachusetts area. Before going into private practice, he was an attorney-advisor in the IRS Office of Chief Counsel in Washington, D.C., where he wrote the federal income tax regulations on conservation easements. Mr. Small advises business and individual landowners and is recognized as the nation’s leading authority on private land protection options. He has worked directly on matters that have resulted in the protection of more than 1.5 million acres around the country. Mr. Small has given more than 400 speeches, seminars, and workshops around the country on tax planning for landowners, succession planning for family lands, and tax incentives for land conservation. He is a member of the Massachusetts and District of Columbia Bars.

Gerard R. Barber  is a certified general appraiser, registered landscape architect, and real estate broker. He founded Barber and Mann, Inc. in 2002, and has performed conservation easement and other specialized appraisals and provided real estate consulting on environmentally sensitive lands for landowners, non-profits, and agencies in the Southeast U.S. for the past 21 years. His firm has provided expert testimony in four tax court cases, and is consulting on multiple cases in progress. After 16 years as President of Oak Lane, Inc, a landscape architecture, land planning, and development firm, Gerald served 28 years as the elected Tax Assessor of Madison County, Mississippi. He has volunteered for over 50 years for several state, regional, and national conservation organizations and was Chairman of the National Wildlife Federation Board of Directors from 1998­–2000. To date, he has appraised or reviewed 264 conservation easements and has served as an instructor for multiple conservation easement seminars across the Southeast.

Wendy Fisher is the Executive Director of Utah Open Lands (UOL), an accredited land trust that has preserved over 60,000 acres in the state of Utah. She has more than 30 years of experience with conservation easements and land trusts, having joined with the original Board of Directors in founding UOL in 1990 and served as its Executive Director since 1993. Ms. Fisher and UOL have been recognized as leaders in conservation efforts in Utah and have been awarded many distinguished honors. For example, in 2010, UOL was awarded Utah State University’s Botanical Center’s Environmental Stewardship Award, and in 2016, Ms. Fisher was named Park City Rotary’s Professional Citizen of the Year in recognition of UOL’s successful campaign to save the cherished 1,350-acre parcel known as Bonanza Flat. Ms. Fisher also has served on various state legislative task forces addressing agricultural, trail, and open space preservation issues, and in 2018 she chaired a subcommittee of the Utah Legislature’s Executive Water Task Force. She also gave the opening remarks at Columbia Law School’s 2014 Conservation Easement Conference, co-sponsored by the National Association of Attorneys General Program and the National Association of State Charity Officials. Her story of the protection of Toll Canyon, Managing, Accommodating and Sustaining the Wild, was published in 2018 as part of the Reimagining a Place for the Wild collection of essays, first presented at the Reimagine Western Landscapes symposium held in Montana’s Centennial Valley.

Jeanie McIntyre is the President of the Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT), an accredited regional land conservancy serving 45 towns in the Connecticut River Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire. UVLT manages a portfolio of over 500 conservation easements, 50 public trails, nine campsites used by Connecticut River paddlers, and 22 conservation areas it owns for educational and recreational use by the general public. Jeanie has been with UVLT since 1987. She is a recipient of New Hampshire’s Andrew L. Felker award in honor of her advocacy for farmland conservation and her work bringing farmers and conservationists together to assure the long term viability of agriculture; Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests’ Sara Thorne award for enhancing the capacity of others to accomplish land conservation; and Audubon Society of New Hampshire’s Tudor Richards award for her love and knowledge of the outdoors and her effective work on behalf of conservation in New Hampshire.

Nancy A. McLaughlin is the Robert W. Swenson Professor of Law at University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. She served as Associate Reporter for the new Restatement of the Law of Charitable Nonprofit Organizations, the first comprehensive source of legal guidance regarding the charitable sector in the U.S. She was a member of the ABA’s Real Property, Trust, and Estate Law Section’s Conservation Easement Task Force, which published a report on conservation easements and federal tax law. She served as Reporter for the Uniform Law Commission’s Uniform Conservation Easement Act Study Committee. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Utah Open Lands (a state-wide land trust), the Habitat Protection Advisory Committee of the Humane Society’s Wildlife Land Trust, and the Lands Protection Committee of Vital Ground (a land trust that conserves and connects habitat for grizzly bears and other wildlife). She also is a Fellow, serves on the Charitable Planning Committee, and served on the Board of Regents of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. Her research focuses on conservation easements, tax incentives, and nonprofit governance issues and she writes and lectures extensively on these issues. She consults with land trusts, landowners, government entities, federal and state regulators, and others regarding conservation easements and nonprofit governance issues. Her articles on conservation easements, which address federal tax issues, valuation, perpetuity, condemnation, merger, enforcement, and other topics can be downloaded here.


Sponsored by the Cultural Vision Fund and Utah Open Lands in cooperation with the Wallace Stegner Center.

For questions about registration or this event contact Catherine (801)463-6156

For technology issues or questions, contact Kris (801) 585-3440

bottom of page