Nonprofits push back HARD at IRS proposal to collect donors’ Social Security numbers

Nonprofit groups are up in arms over a proposal by the IRS that would require them to provide the Social Security numbers of donors. The backlash over the proposed rule is mainly due to security implications, but with no love lost between the agency and certain nonprofits, the groups are gearing up to kill the  proposal before it gets too far.

Creating an optional filing for 501 (c)(3) nonprofit groups, the IRS proposal would require that participants would turn over the Social Security numbers of donors who contribute $250 or more annually to a given charity.

Mark Fitzgibbons, president of corporate affairs at American Target Advertising, which runs several conservative 501(c)(3) nonprofits, said “I don’t know any charity that would adopt this, but those who do will certainly be scaring their donors,” according to Fox News.

Currently, 501(c)(3) organizations, that  include charities, churches and  universities, are required to send a written acknowledgement of donations over $250 that the donor can use for filing tax deductions on returns. Under the new proposal, the groups could send a single document to the IRS listing all donors’ contributions and Social Security numbers, apparently streamlining the process.

Watch the Fox News report, below:

Nonprofits, which already have trust issues with the IRS over revelations that the agency had targeted certain groups with political sounding names, are not buying in to the new proposed rule. Not only would donors balk at the idea of giving if it involved disclosing SSN’s, but the groups would need added security to keep information from being leaked.

“The IRS can’t keep its information confidential, they’ve been hacked,” said Fitzgibbons, according to Fox.

Republican media specialist, T.J. McCormack, told Fox News “there is a dog whistle aspect to this.”

“Everybody knows that everybody’s being hacked, and it’s just a little uncomfortable,” he said. “And there’s also this feeling that the government is overreaching…. and that still leaves a little bit of a bad taste in everybody’s mouth.”

Basil Smikle, the executive director of NYS Democratic party, told Fox he believed the nonprofits seeking to kill the proposal would succeed. “I do think the nonprofit lobby in this will push back really hard. My guess is that they will succeed,” he said.

 

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Frieda Powers

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