39-22-522. Credit against tax - conservation easements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1) For purposes of this section, "taxpayer" means a resident individual or a domestic or foreign corporation subject to the provisions of part 3 of this article, a partnership, S corporation, or other similar pass-through entity, estate, or trust that donates a conservation easement as an entity, and a partner, member, and subchapter S shareholder of such pass-through entity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2) For income tax years commencing on or after January 1, 2000, and, with regard to any credit over the amount of one hundred thousand dollars, for income tax years commencing on or after January 1, 2003, subject to the provisions of subsections (4) and (6) of this section, there shall be allowed a credit with respect to the income taxes imposed by this article to each taxpayer who donates during the taxable year all or part of the value of a perpetual conservation easement in gross created pursuant to article 30.5 of title 38, C.R.S., upon real property the taxpayer owns to a governmental entity or a charitable organization described in section 38-30.5-104 (2), C.R.S. The credit shall only be allowed for a donation that is eligible to qualify as a qualified conservation contribution pursuant to section 170 (h) of the internal revenue code, as amended, and any federal regulations promulgated in connection with such section. The amount of the credit shall not include the value of any portion of an easement on real property located in another state.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3) In order for any taxpayer to qualify for the credit provided for in subsection (2) of this section, the taxpayer shall submit the following in a form approved by the executive director to the department of revenue at the same time as the taxpayer files a return for the taxable year in which the credit is claimed:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(a) A statement indicating whether a deduction was claimed on the taxpayer's federal income tax return for a conservation easement in gross;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(b) A statement that reflects the information included in the noncash charitable contributions form used to claim a deduction for a conservation easement in gross on a federal income tax return and whether the donation was made in order to get a permit or other approval from a local or other governing authority;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(c) A statement to be made available to the public by the department of revenue that includes a summary of the conservation purposes as defined in section 170 (h) of the internal revenue code that are protected by the easement; the county, township, and range where the easement is located; the number of acres subject to the easement; the amount of the tax credit claimed; and the name of the organization holding the easement;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(d) A summary of a qualified appraisal that meets the requirements set forth in subsection (3.3) of this section; however, if requested by the department of revenue, the taxpayer shall submit the appraisal itself;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(e) A copy of the appraisal and accompanying affidavit from the appraiser submitted to the division of real estate in the department of regulatory agencies in accordance with the provisions of section 12-61-719, C.R.S.;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(f) If the holder of the conservation easement is an organization to which the certification program in section 12-61-720, C.R.S., applies, a sworn affidavit from the holder of the conservation easement in gross that includes the following:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I) An acknowledgment that the holder has filed the information with the department of revenue and the division of real estate in accordance with section 24-33-112, C.R.S.;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(II) An acknowledgment of whether the transaction is part of a series of transactions by the same donor; and

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(III) An acknowledgment that the holder has reviewed the completed Colorado gross conservation easement credit schedule to be filed by the taxpayer and that the property is accurately described in the schedule.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3.3) The appraisal for a conservation easement in gross for which a credit is claimed shall be a qualified appraisal from a qualified appraiser, as those terms are defined in section 170 (f) (11) of the internal revenue code. The appraisal shall be in conformance with the uniform standards for professional appraisal practice promulgated by the appraisal standards board of the appraisal foundation and any other provision of law. The appraiser shall hold a valid license as a certified general appraiser in accordance with the provisions of part 7 of article 61 of title 12, C.R.S. The appraiser shall also meet any education and experience requirements established by the board of real estate appraisers in accordance with section 12-61-719 (7), C.R.S. If there is a final determination, other than by settlement of the taxpayer, that an appraisal submitted in connection with a claim for a credit pursuant to this section is a substantial or gross valuation misstatement as such misstatements are defined in section 1219 of the federal "Pension Protection Act of 2006", Pub.L. 109-280, the department shall submit a complaint regarding the misstatement to the board of real estate appraisers for disciplinary action in accordance with the provisions of part 7 of article 61 of title 12, C.R.S.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3.5) (a) The executive director shall have the authority, pursuant to subsection (8) of this section, to require additional information from the taxpayer or transferee regarding the appraisal value of the easement, the amount of the credit, and the validity of the credit. In resolving disputes regarding the validity or the amount of a credit allowed pursuant to subsection (2) of this section, including the value of the conservation easement for which the credit is granted, the executive director shall have the authority, for good cause shown and in consultation with the division of real estate and the conservation easement oversight commission created in section 12-61-721 (1), C.R.S., to review and accept or reject, in whole or in part, the appraisal value of the easement, the amount of the credit, and the validity of the credit based upon the internal revenue code and federal regulations in effect at the time of the donation. If the executive director reasonably believes that the appraisal represents a gross valuation misstatement, receives notice of such a valuation misstatement from the division of real estate, or receives notice from the division of real estate that an enforcement action has been taken by the board of real estate appraisers against the appraiser, the executive director shall have the authority to require the taxpayer to provide a second appraisal at the expense of the taxpayer. The second appraisal shall be conducted by a certified general appraiser in good standing and not affiliated with the first appraiser that meets qualifications established by the division of real estate. In the event the executive director rejects, in whole or in part, the appraisal value of the easement, the amount of the credit, or the validity of the credit, the procedures described in sections 39-21-103, 39-21-104, 39-21-104.5, and 39-21-105 shall apply.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(b) In consultation with the division of real estate and the conservation easement oversight commission created in section 12-61-721 (1), C.R.S., the executive director shall develop and implement a separate process for the review by the department of revenue of gross conservation easements. The review process shall be consistent with the statutory obligations of the division and the commission and shall address gross conservation easements for which the department of revenue has been informed that an audit is being performed by the internal revenue service. The executive director shall share information used in the review of gross conservation easements with the division. Notwithstanding part 2 of article 72 of title 24, C.R.S., in order to protect the confidential financial information of a taxpayer, the division and the commission shall deny the right to inspect any information provided by the executive director in accordance with this paragraph (b). On or before January 1, 2009, the executive director shall report to the general assembly on the status of the development and implementation of the process required by this paragraph (b).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3.7) If the gain on the sale of a conservation easement in gross for which a credit is claimed pursuant to this section would not have been a long-term capital gain, as defined under the internal revenue code, if, at the time of the donation, the taxpayer had sold the conservation easement at its fair market value, then the value of the conservation easement in gross for the purpose of calculating the amount of the credit shall be reduced to the taxpayer's tax basis in the conservation easement in gross. The tax basis of a taxpayer in a conservation easement shall be determined and allocated pursuant to sections 170 (e) and 170 (h) of the internal revenue code, as amended, and any federal regulations promulgated in connection with such sections. This subsection (3.7) shall be applied in a manner that is consistent with the tax treatment of qualified conservation contributions under the internal revenue code and the federal regulations promulgated under the internal revenue code.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(4) (a) (I) For a conservation easement in gross created in accordance with article 30.5 of title 38, C.R.S., that is donated prior to January 1, 2007, to a governmental entity or a charitable organization described in section 38-30.5-104 (2), C.R.S., the credit provided for in subsection (2) of this section shall be an amount equal to one hundred percent of the first one hundred thousand dollars of the fair market value of the donated portion of such conservation easement in gross when created, and forty percent of all amounts of the donation in excess of one hundred thousand dollars; except that in no case shall the credit exceed two hundred sixty thousand dollars per donation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(II) For a conservation easement in gross created in accordance with article 30.5 of title 38, C.R.S., that is donated on or after January 1, 2007, to a governmental entity or a charitable organization described in section 38-30.5-104 (2), C.R.S., the credit provided for in subsection (2) of this section shall be an amount equal to fifty percent of the fair market value of the donated portion of such conservation easement in gross when created; except that in no case shall the credit exceed three hundred seventy-five thousand dollars per donation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(III) In no event shall a credit claimed by a taxpayer filing a joint federal return, or the sum of the credits claimed by taxpayers filing married separate federal returns, exceed the dollar limitations of this paragraph (a).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(b) For income tax years commencing on or after January 1, 2000, in the case of a joint tenancy, tenancy in common, partnership, S corporation, or other similar entity or ownership group that donates a conservation easement as an entity or group, the amount of the credit allowed pursuant to subsection (2) of this section shall be allocated to the entity's owners, partners, members, or shareholders in proportion to the owners', partners', members', or shareholders' distributive shares of income or ownership percentage from such entity or group. For income tax years commencing on or after January 1, 2000, but prior to January 1, 2003, the total aggregate amount of the credit allocated to such owners, partners, members, and shareholders shall not exceed one hundred thousand dollars, and, if any refund is claimed pursuant to subparagraph (I) of paragraph (b) of subsection (5) of this section, the aggregate amount of the refund and the credit claimed by such partners, members, and shareholders shall not exceed twenty thousand dollars for that income tax year. For income tax years commencing on or after January 1, 2003, but prior to January 1, 2007, the total aggregate amount of the credit allocated to such owners, partners, members, and shareholders shall not exceed two hundred sixty thousand dollars, and, if any refund is claimed pursuant to subparagraph (I) of paragraph (b) of subsection (5) of this section, the aggregate amount of the refund and the credit claimed by such owners, partners, members, and shareholders shall not exceed fifty thousand dollars for that income tax year. For income tax years commencing on or after January 1, 2007, the total aggregate amount of the credit allocated to such owners, partners, members, and shareholders shall not exceed three hundred seventy-five thousand dollars, and, if any refund is claimed pursuant to subparagraph (I) of paragraph (b) of subsection (5) of this section, the aggregate amount of the refund and the credit claimed by such owners, partners, members, and shareholders shall not exceed fifty thousand dollars for that income tax year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(5) (a) If the tax credit provided in this section exceeds the amount of income tax due on the income of the taxpayer for the taxable year, the amount of the credit not used as an offset against income taxes in said income tax year and not refunded pursuant to paragraph (b) of this subsection (5) may be carried forward and applied against the income tax due in each of the twenty succeeding income tax years but shall be first applied against the income tax due for the earliest of the income tax years possible. Any amount of the credit that is not used after said period shall not be refundable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(b) (I) Subject to the requirements specified in subparagraphs (II) and (III) of this paragraph (b), for income tax years commencing on or after January 1, 2000, if the amount of the tax credit allowed in or carried forward to any tax year pursuant to this section exceeds the amount of income tax due on the income of the taxpayer for the year, the taxpayer may elect to have the amount of the credit not used as an offset against income taxes in said income tax year refunded to the taxpayer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(II) A taxpayer may elect to claim a refund pursuant to subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (b) only if, based on the financial report prepared by the controller in accordance with section 24-77-106.5, C.R.S., the controller certifies that the amount of state revenues for the state fiscal year ending in the income tax year for which the refund is claimed exceeds the limitation on state fiscal year spending imposed by section 20 (7) (a) of article X of the state constitution and the voters statewide either have not authorized the state to retain and spend all of the excess state revenues or have authorized the state to retain and spend only a portion of the excess state revenues for that fiscal year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(III) If any refund is claimed pursuant to subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (b), then the aggregate amount of the refund and amount of the credit used as an offset against income taxes for that income tax year shall not exceed fifty thousand dollars for that income tax year. In the case of a partnership, S corporation, or other similar pass-through entity that donates a conservation easement as an entity, if any refund is claimed pursuant to subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (b), the aggregate amount of the refund and the credit claimed by the partners, members, or shareholders of the entity shall not exceed the dollar limitation set forth in this subparagraph (III) for that income tax year. Nothing in this subparagraph (III) shall limit a taxpayer's ability to claim a credit against taxes due in excess of fifty thousand dollars in accordance with subsection (4) of this section.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(6) A taxpayer may claim only one tax credit under this section per income tax year; except that a transferee of a tax credit under subsection (7) of this section may claim an unlimited number of credits. A taxpayer who has carried forward or elected to receive a refund of part of the tax credit in accordance with subsection (5) of this section shall not claim an additional tax credit under this section for any income tax year in which the taxpayer applies the amount carried forward against income tax due or receives a refund. A taxpayer who has transferred a credit to a transferee pursuant to subsection (7) of this section shall not claim an additional tax credit under this section for any income tax year in which the transferee uses such transferred credit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(7) For income tax years commencing on or after January 1, 2000, a taxpayer may transfer all or a portion of a tax credit granted pursuant to subsection (2) of this section to another taxpayer for such other taxpayer, as transferee, to apply as a credit against the taxes imposed by this article subject to the following limitations:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(a) The taxpayer may only transfer such portion of the tax credit as the taxpayer has neither applied against the income taxes imposed by this article nor used to obtain a refund;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(b) The taxpayer may transfer a pro-rated portion of the tax credit to more than one transferee;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(c) A transferee may not elect to have any transferred credit refunded pursuant to paragraph (b) of subsection (5) of this section;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(d) For any tax year in which a tax credit is transferred pursuant to this subsection (7), both the taxpayer and the transferee shall file written statements with their income tax returns specifying the amount of the tax credit that has been transferred. A transferee may not claim a credit transferred pursuant to this subsection (7) unless the taxpayer's written statement verifies the amount of the tax credit claimed by the transferee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(e) To the extent that a transferee paid value for the transfer of a conservation easement tax credit to such transferee, the transferee shall be deemed to have used the credit to pay, in whole or in part, the income tax obligation imposed on the transferee under this article, and to such extent the transferee's use of a tax credit from a transferor under this section to pay taxes owed shall not be deemed a reduction in the amount of income taxes imposed by this article on the transferee;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(f) The transferee shall submit to the department a form approved by the department. The transferee shall also file a copy of the form with the entity to whom the taxpayer donated the conservation easement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(g) A transferee of a tax credit shall purchase the credit prior to the due date imposed by this article, not including any extensions, for filing the transferee's income tax return;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(h) A tax credit held by an individual either directly or as a result of a donation by a pass-through entity, but not a tax credit held by a transferee unless used by the transferee's estate for taxes owed by the estate, shall survive the death of the individual and may be claimed or transferred by the decedent's estate. This paragraph (h) shall apply to any tax credit from a donation of a conservation easement made on or after January 1, 2000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(i) The donor of an easement for which a tax credit is claimed or the transferor of a tax credit transferred pursuant to this subsection (7) shall be the tax matters representative in all matters with respect to the credit. The tax matters representative shall be responsible for representing and binding the transferees with respect to all issues affecting the credit, including, but not limited to, the charitable contribution deduction, the appraisal, notifications and correspondence from and with the department of revenue, audit examinations, assessments or refunds, settlement agreements, and the statute of limitations. The transferee shall be subject to the same statute of limitations with respect to the credit as the transferor of the credit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(j) Final resolution of disputes regarding the tax credit between the department of revenue and the tax matters representative, including final determinations, compromises, payment of additional taxes or refunds due, and administrative and judicial decisions, shall be binding on transferees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(8) The executive director of the department of revenue may promulgate rules for the implementation of this section. Such rules shall be promulgated in accordance with article 4 of title 24, C.R.S.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(9) Any taxpayer who claims a credit for the donation of a conservation easement contrary to the provisions of this section shall be liable for such deficiencies, interest, and penalties as may be specified in this article or otherwise provided by law.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(10) On or before July 1, 2008, the department of revenue shall create a report, which shall be made available to the public, on the credits claimed in the previous year in accordance with this section. For each credit claimed for a conservation easement in gross, the report shall summarize by county where the easement is located, the acres under easement, the appraised value of the easement, the donated value of the easement, and the name of any holders of the easement; except that the department shall combine such information for multiple counties where necessary to ensure that the information for no fewer than three easements is summarized for any county or combination of counties in the report. The report shall be updated annually to reflect the same information for any additional credits that have been granted since the previous report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(11) On or before December 31, 2007, the department of revenue shall create a report, which shall be made available to the public, with as much of the information specified in paragraph (c) of subsection (3) of this section as is available to the department, summarized by county, for each tax credit claimed for a conservation easement in gross for tax years commencing on or after January 1, 2000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: L. 99: Entire section added, p. 976, 1, effective August 4. L. 2000: (4), (5), and (6) amended and (7) and (8) added, p. 894, 1, effective August 2. L. 2001: (1), (2), (3), (4), and (5)(b)(III) amended, p. 395, 6, effective August 8; (1), (2), (3), (4), (5)(b)(III), (6), (7)(a), (7)(b) amended and (7)(e) and (7)(f) added, p. 901, 1, effective January 1, 2003. L. 2002: (2) amended and (9) added, p. 510, 1, effective August 7; (2) amended and (9) added, p. 511, 2, effective January 1, 2003. L. 2005: (3.5), (7)(g), (7)(h), (7)(i), and (7)(j) added, pp. 1479, 1480, 1, 2, effective June 7. L. 2006: (4) amended, p. 822, 1, effective August 7. L. 2007: (3), (3.5), and (7)(i) amended and (3.3), (10), and (11) added, p. 1228, 3, effective August 3. L. 2008: (3)(b), (3)(e), IP(3)(f), (3)(f)(I), (3.3), and (3.5) amended and (3.7) added, p. 2316, 8, effective July 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Editor's note: (1) Subsections (2), (4), and (5)(b)(III) were amended in House Bill 01-1364. Those amendments are superseded by the amendments to said subsections in House Bill 01-1090, effective January 1, 2003.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2) Section 10 of chapter 448, Session Laws of Colorado 2008, provides that the Colorado legislative services agencies of the general assembly shall conduct a post-enactment review of House Bill 08-1353 in accordance with section 2-2-1201 within two years after the effective date of this section utilizing the information contained in section 1 of said House Bill 08-1353.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cross references: (1) For the legislative declaration contained in the 2001 act amending subsections (1), (2), (3), (4), and (5)(b)(III), see section 1 of chapter 133, Session Laws of Colorado 2001.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2) For the legislative declaration contained in the 2008 act amending subsections (3)(b), (3)(e), the introductory portion to subsection (3)(f), subsections (3)(f)(I), (3.3), and (3.5) and enacting subsection (3.7), see section 1 of chapter 448, Session Laws of Colorado 2008.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECENT ANNOTATIONS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The $100,000 "per donation" cap on the amount of the tax credit that could be claimed under a prior version of this section was an aggregate cap on the amount of the credit that could be claimed by all tenants in common for the donation of undivided property. The department of revenue therefore properly reduced to a total of $100,000 total conservation easement tax credits of $154,700 claimed in equal shares by two tenants in common. Huber v. Kenna, 205 P.3d 1158 (Colo. 2009) (decided under former law).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANNOTATION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Law reviews. For article, "The Unique Benefits of Conservation Easements in Colorado", see 30 Colo. Law. 49 (December 2001). For article, "Changes to Colorado's Conservation Income Tax Credit Law", see 32 Colo. Law. 65 (February 2003).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prior versions of section did not allow treatment of tenants in common as a single taxpayer. Tenants in common who donated a conservation easement worth more than $100,000 could therefore each claim a credit for their full share of the value of the conservation easement thus voiding the department of revenue's regulation. Kenna v. Huber, 179 P.3d 189 (Colo. App. 2007).