December 14, 2015
HSLDA Responds to New IRS Proposed Regulation
William A. Estrada, Esq.
Director of Federal Relations
|Will Estrada has been leading our efforts to defend homeschooling on Capitol Hill since 2006. He is a homeschool graduate who married a homeschool graduate. Read more >>|
The IRS has proposed a regulation that would allow 501(c)(3) organizations—houses of worship, nonprofits as diverse as the Home School Foundation to the Sierra Club, many state and local homeschool associations, and other tax-exempt organizations across the nation—to collect Social Security numbers from all donors who contribute $250 or more.
HSLDA is concerned with this proposed IRS regulation for three reasons. We believe it 1) threatens donor confidentiality, 2) will make donors reluctant to give more than $250 to charities, and 3) may ultimately lead the IRS to mandate Social Security number collection and reporting for all nonprofits. Of course, if the IRS ever attempted to make this reporting mandatory, HSLDA and many others would strongly object.
For an excellent analysis of this proposed regulation, please visit the National Council of Nonprofits’ analysis here.
How to Submit a Public Comment—Deadline on Wednesday, December 16
The IRS and all other federal agencies that propose regulations are required by law to review every comment submitted by the public. In the past many proposed federal regulations have been retracted or improved after thousands of Americans like you spent a few moments to comment.
You can read the proposed IRS regulation here. If you wish to file a public comment about this proposed regulation, click on the blue “Comment Now!” button on the top right hand corner. You will need to leave your name (your contact information is optional but recommended if you are comfortable with giving it.)
For your convenience, here is a sample that you can copy and paste into the comment box. We encourage you to modify this wording to be as direct and persuasive as possible:
“I am concerned about this proposed regulation. I give regularly to several charitable organizations. In this day and age of hacking and identity theft, I would never give out my Social Security number. This proposed regulation, if adopted, would hurt charities across our nation as donors would be fearful of their Social Security numbers being inadvertently released. Please do not finalize this regulation.”
Nonprofit organizations are the backbone of civil society in the United States. Countless Americans from all walks of life and from across the political spectrum donate their money to nonprofit organizations. Unfortunately, the IRS has, in recent years, been targeting 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and 501(c)(4) advocacy organizations. We believe that this proposed regulation could be another step in that direction.
Currently, houses of worship and other nonprofits provide a receipt to every donor who gives a donation of $250 or more. Under the newly proposed IRS regulation, houses of worship and other nonprofits will be given the choice of continuing to provide donors with a receipt, or filing a new form with the IRS containing the Social Security number for every donor, as well as additional information. The nonprofit would also provide a copy of this form to each donor.
We are concerned by this proposed regulation because we believe that it will lead to Social Security numbers being stolen. In addition, we believe it will open the door to the IRS mandating that nonprofits collect Social Security numbers from donors, something which would significantly chill fundraising efforts.
A Government Accountability Office report from 2009 expresses this very same concern regarding a prior proposal similar to this one, stating: “taxpayers may reduce giving because they are reluctant to provide Social Security numbers to charities given concerns over identity theft.”
HSLDA strongly agrees. Government should seek to make it easier for Americans to contribute to nonprofit organizations, not harder. This proposed IRS regulation is exactly the wrong move at a time when the work of nonprofit organizations is so desperately needed across our nation.
If you wish to share your comment with the IRS, please take action now by clicking on the proposed IRS regulation here, and then clicking on the blue “Comment Now!” button on the top right hand corner to add your comment.
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