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  • Gary Mauney

$3 Billion Conservation Easement Tax Shelter Scheme in North Myrtle Beach

Tax Shelter Attorney Gary Mauney Investigates the circumstances surrounding the 1,400 acres in North Myrtle Beach (Horry County, South Carolina) that EcoVest placed into tax shelters since 2014.

Did you invest in one of EcoVest's Syndicated Conservation Easement tax shelters in North Myrtle Beach? These shelters have been extensively reported on in the Myrtle Beach and Charleston, South Carolina press. If so, are you aware that the Department of Justice has alleged, in a federal lawsuit, that this type of tax shelter is fraudulent and "amounts to nothing more than a thinly veiled sale of grossly overvalued federal tax deductions under the guise of investing in a partnership."

The U.S. Tax Court Strikes to 4 Conservation Easement Tax Shelters.

Are you aware that on July 9, 2020, the U.S. Tax Court struck down four more abusive syndicated conservation easement shelters? Despite a string of losses in court, promoters of these abusive transactions have reportedly downplayed the "court decisions holding in the government's favor," and have "argue[d] that their cases are somehow different [from those decided] or that those decisions might be reversed on appeal." Are you aware that these are the same arguments the Son of BOSS, FLIP, BLIPS, and POPS promoters made to their clients, which led to millions of dollars of additional taxpayer expense and damages for attorneys' fees, IRS penalties, and IRS interest? Along the same lines, tax shelter promoters have historically made the false argument that malpractice or fraud cases against them would be detrimental to the investor-taxpayer's IRS audit or court challenge process. This is a tired, old, and deceptive yarn, since many of the malpractice and fraud arguments against the promoters also support the taxpayer's arguments with the IRS, such as those that relate to the taxpayer's good faith in making the investment.

Don't be fooled by false claims made by promoters to protect themselves.

After the recent Tax Court rulings, the IRS Chief Counsel said that: "Taxpayers should ignore this nonsense, take an objective look at their cases, and cut their losses." A Forbes analyst had a similar view, and called this "an offer not to be refused." Abusive transactions, the Chief Counsel said, "like settlement offers, do not get better with time." And the same logic applies to taxpayer-investors, who put money into these shelters in good faith, only to find out later that the promoters misled them, by false assurances, and with appraisals that were false and that do not meet professional standards.

The government's position is this: "The IRS will continue to actively identify, audit and litigate these syndicated conservation easement deals as part of its vigorous and relentless effort to combat abusive transactions," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "These abusive transactions undermine the public's trust in private land conservation and defraud the government of revenue. We strongly recommend that participants seek the advice of competent, independent advisors. Ending these abusive schemes remains a top priority for the IRS." And as the IRS's 4-plus court victories attest, investor challenges face very, very difficult odds. You don't need to be a tax lawyer to understand that a tax break that materially relies on a false fact, meaning a fraudulent appraisal, is a house of cards proposition.

We've been down this road before. And we know how it ends.

Similar advice applies to investors that may be entitled to seek damages against the tax shelter promoters for malpractice or fraud. Time is not on your side, as state statutes of limitations have undoubtedly begun and will continue to run against you irrespective of your situation with the IRS. Access to crucial evidence may disappear without the ability to issue document preservation letters and subpoenas. The promoters' ability to pay damages is also an issue, as their malpractice carriers exhaust coverage with payouts to those first in the litigation line. As Accounting Today put it, "professional liability experts see conservation easements as spiking the next wave of malpractice claims against accountants and tax preparers." As a result, Accounting Today reports, experts "recommend that a CPA firm should plan to take steps to mitigate the possibility of a claim arising from abusive syndicated conservation easement transactions."

Contact Attorney Gary Mauney of Mauney PLLC to discuss your rights.

Hear that? The promoter's experts are advising their clients to "mitigate the possibility of a claim." If you are an investor, your interests are best served by making sure your claims are preserved and protected. And the best way to do that is by hiring an experienced tax shelter civil litigation attorney to evaluate your situation and to protect your rights. Abusive tax shelter attorney Gary Mauney of Mauney PLLC is one of the most experienced tax shelter attorneys in the United States. Gary Mauney has resented dozens of clients in abusive tax shelter cases, and his cases have been frequently featured in the national press. Gary is the former Chair of the American Trial Lawyer's Association's Abusive Tax Shelter Litigation Group. For a free and confidential evaluation of your potential abusive tax shelter case, call Mauney PLLC at 704/945-7185 or send an email to


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