Tax Preference for Conservation Easements Maintains Solid Support

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The Senate Finance Committee's “clean slate” on a tax overhaul is beginning to look a little smudged.
Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and ranking member Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) are taking the lead on preserving a tax deduction for property owners who donate conservation easements for their land—and making sure a temporary expansion of that benefit becomes permanent.
Baucus and Hatch, who have promised to begin a tax overhaul by wiping the U.S. tax code clean of tax preferences and asking lawmakers to justify them, are not alone among tax-writing lawmakers who have supported the deduction, outlined in Section 170 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.