Title

Conservation Easement Tax Credit Abuse: Recommendations for Colorado Policy Makers

Date of Award

5-29-2009

Document Type

Capstone Project

Disciplines

Environmental Policy & Mgmt

Degree Name

Master of Applied Science

Department

Environmental Policy & Mgmt

Advisor

Barron Douglas Farquhar

Keywords

Colorado conservation easement tax credits; conservation easements; tax credits

Abstract

Inflated real estate appraisals used to exploit Colorado's conservation easement tax credit program have cost the State millions of dollars in lost revenue. The current Colorado Department of Revenue process for addressing the overvaluation of tax credits does not specifically address issues unique to abuses of the conservation easement tax credit. An analysis of proposed policies was conducted to identify how the State could best resolve conservation easement tax issues. Four key components of a comprehensive policy to address past abuses of Colorado's tax credit were identified: 1) recovering lost tax revenue, 2) providing financial relief to landowners, 3) allowing for the continued use of tax incentives and, 4) addressing claimed and unclaimed credits.

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