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Conservation Easements

House Bill 11-1300, (link) which was passed in the 2011 Legislative Session created an appeal process in the District Court for land owners related to conservation easement tax credits.

Conservation Easement Case Processing

What is a Conservation Easement Case?

House  Bill 11-1300 provides that persons who hold tax credits derived from a conservation easement who have received a notice of deficiency, disallowance, or rejection of their credit may appeal that decision through the person or entity which created the conservation easement, called the Tax Matters Representative.
The Act permits the Tax matter Representative to appeal through either the District Court or an enhanced administrative process.
Cases filed with the District Courts generally fall into one of two categories. 
  1. The first group includes litigants that choose to leave the Department of Revenue’s (DOR) administrative appeal process without receiving a final ruling to instead have the District Court rule on the issues. It is anticipated that the majority of cases filed will fall in this group. These cases must be filed by October 1, 2011. 
  2. The second group is composed of litigants that may choose to stay in the DOR appeal process including those who may want to appeal the DOR ruling in District Court per HB 11-1300. This type of appeal will be filed at a later date.  
How do I file a case if I choose to proceed through the District Court?
Cases are filed in the District Court in the county in which the property is located. The cases are mandatory e-filed if filed by an attorney. If a litigant is proceeding without an attorney, documents must be filed in the clerk’s office at the courthouse where the property is located. In both instances, a civil filing fee applies ($224).
Who will represent the Department of Revenue?
The Attorney General will represent the Department of Revenue in cases filed in District Court. 
What happens during the course of the case?
The District Court will determine, in this order:
  1. Whether the tax credit claimed was valid;
  2. The value of the tax credit, along with any outstanding taxes, penalties, and interest due;
  3. How the tax credit, outstanding taxes, penalties, and interest are apportioned among the credit holders (if applicable); and
  4. Any other outstanding disputes between tax credit holder and land owner as determined by the Court.
What counties are in each region?
HB 11-1300 divides Colorado into three regions for the purpose of conservation easement filings. The regions include the following judicial districts:
  • REGION 1: 1ST, 2ND, 8TH, 13TH, 17TH, 18TH, 19TH, and 20TH
  • REGION 2: 3RD, 4TH, 10TH, 11TH, 12TH, 15TH, and 16TH
  • REGION 3: 5TH, 6TH, 7TH, 9TH, 14TH, 21ST, and 22ND
Click here to see a map of the districts: District Court Map
Who do I contact with questions?
The regional Clerk of Court or his/her designee:
Where can I get more information?
Further information may be obtained by reading House Bill 11-1300 as signed by the Governor (Click Here). Additional information on HB11-1300 also can be obtained at the following websites. (NOTE: the Judicial Department is not the controlling authority on these websites, thus does not endorse any information on these sites.)
Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts
Colorado Department of Revenue
The CBA Legal Connection  
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