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Dear IRS, We Do Not Want to Collect Social Security Numbers

Posted By Administration, Friday, December 11, 2015
Updated: Thursday, December 10, 2015

On December 11, 2015, the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers provided a public comment to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in opposition to a proposed regulation called the Substantiation Requirement for Certain Contributions (REG-138344-13). That is not something we do every day.

Read what concerns us below and learn how to add your own voice to prevent the proposed regulation affecting individual charitable contributions.

The IRS is proposing a voluntary reporting program encouraging nonprofits to ask for, store and protect donor Social Security numbers. The proposed regulations would give nonprofits the option of filing a separate new information return with the IRS and individual donors by February 28 every year to substantiate contributions of more than $250 in value. A mandatory proposal was considered and rejected in the past based on numerous legal, policy and confidentiality problems.

As an organization dedicated to promoting philanthropy, ABAG is deeply concerned that the regulation would decrease charitable giving and create mistrust between the public and nonprofit organizations. First, it will not take long for scam artists to pretend to be nonprofit organizations and obtain Social Security numbers for their own fraudulent purpose. Second, individuals have been told by the government itself to NOT share their Social Security number, and small charities do not have the technology or training to safeguard personal information. Hackers will soon be targeting nonprofit organizations.

Commenting on proposed regulations is not considered lobbying by the IRS. If you do not want to share your Social Security number with the charities you support as an individual and sense immediately the potential harm to communities from reduced giving, you can submit comments easily online.

Learn more from our partner the National Council of Nonprofits about the proposed regulations and what you can do to take action against it on behalf of donors, nonprofit organizations and the public.

What can you do?
The IRS is asking for comments on the proposal by December 16. To submit comments go to the IRS website at http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=IRS-2015-0049-0082

Tags:  IRS  Social Security number 

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Adam Donaldson says...
Posted Thursday, January 7, 2016
Thank you!

On January 8, 2016, the Treasury Department and IRS will publish in the Federal Register that they are withdrawing the proposed Gift Substantiation regulation! Not only is this good policy, but it demonstrates that the concerned voices in 37,976 comments influence the thinking and actions of federal officials.

The Federal Register will include in part: “The Treasury Department and the IRS received a substantial number of public comments in response to the notice of proposed rulemaking. Many of these public comments questioned the need for donee reporting, and many comments expressed significant concerns about donee organizations collecting and maintaining taxpayer identification numbers for purposes of the specific-use information return. In response to those comments, the Treasury Department and the IRS have decided against implementing the statutory exception to the CWA requirement, and therefore that exception remains unavailable unless and until final regulations are issued prescribing the method for donee reporting. Accordingly, the notice of proposed rulemaking is being withdrawn.”
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