IRS Issues "Safe Harbor" Language for Conservation Easements


In December 2022, Congress passed the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act. As part of that legislation, conservation easement donors have been afforded a one-time, 90-day window in which to correct certain specific conservation easement language pertaining to boundary line adjustments and extinguishment proceeds that the IRS has deemed problematic, and which the IRS might use for grounds to deny a federal tax deduction.

The deadline to correct conservation easements with problematic language is July 24, 2023.
More information can be found in IRS Notice 2023-30, available at

According to the notice, conservation easement donors are not required to correct their easement language, but fixing the problematic language might protect federal tax deductions from an audit on the basis of the problematic language. Please note that correcting the problematic language does not protect a deduction from audit or from being denied by the IRS on other grounds.

Does this affect me?

Five Valleys Land Trust cannot provide legal or tax advice and we have not analyzed the language in your specific conservation easement or your tax situation. You are encouraged to review the IRS notice and consult with your legal counsel or tax professional to answer the following questions:

1. Did you or a family member take, or plan to take, a federal tax deduction associated with the donated value of a conservation easement?
2. Is your most recent deduction associated with the donated value of a conservation easement within the federal audit period?
If you answered no to either questions, this notice likely doesn’t apply to you. However, this is a determination that must be made by you and your tax and legal advisors.
Next steps:

If, after consulting with your legal counsel or tax professional, you are interested in completing a correction, please contact us as soon as feasible because we will likely not be able to complete requests made close to the July 24, 2023 deadline.

Any such "safe harbor" corrections are subject to approval by Five Valleys Land Trust and we cannot guarantee that you will be able to amend your easement, or that an amendment will be completed by the IRS’ July 24, 2023 deadline. You may incur costs like title work, legal expenses, and recording fees if you seek to amend your easement.

If you and your advisors wish to pursue an amendment, please contact:
Jenny Tollefson, Stewardship Director, or
Ryan Stutzman, Conservation Easement Manager
at (406) 549-0755 or by emailing as soon as possible.

Header photo of the Grass Valley by Paul Lebel


Outdated browsers leave you vulnerable to security risks and may not correctly display modern websites such as this one.

It is highly recommended for your own security that you upgrade your browser immediately.

Show me how to upgrade my browser.Hide this message.