In a creative tax maneuver, an Alabama land developer was able to deduct part of his golf course.
E.A. Drummond bought real estate on a Gulf Coast peninsula in the 1990s, created a business to build a golf course on it, and developed the land around the golf course. In 2002, he had the business place a conservation easement - a partial restriction of what can be done with a piece of land, for the purpose of conserving it or preserving "recreational amenities," golf among them as the tax code is written - donated that easement to a conservation land trust, and claimed the value of the easement as a charitable-giving tax deduction.
Under Obama's budget proposal, that couldn't be done.
In explaining the proposed change, Treasury protests that such moves have "raised concerns" that the deductions, often claimed by the developers of homes around golf courses, "are excessive," and that they mainly advance "the private interests of donors" not "bona fide conservation activities."